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Kaine Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill to Expand Access to Health Care for Veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committees, joined Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) in cosponsoring the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act. The legislation would expand access to home and community-based services (HCBS), including long term services and supports (LTSS), for aging veterans and improve the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)’s support for veterans and caregivers of all ages. Currently, many veterans who are covered by a VA health plan and are in need of HCBS do not have such services available in their community. This bill would require the VA to coordinate with local Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which provide HCBS in local communities, to help ensure any veteran enrolled in the VA health system who is eligible for and in need of HCBS can access such services, allowing veterans to remain in their homes and communities.

“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for us, and we owe it to them to ensure they have access to the high-quality care and services they need,” said Kaine. “The Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act would do just that by improving access to home and community-based services, sharing resources, addressing the shortage of direct support workers, home health care providers, and supporting caregivers.”

The Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act honors former Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)’s passion for supporting veterans and their caregivers by expanding access to home and community-based care programs for veterans, increasing support for in-home care, assessing VA’s caregiver and long-term care programs, and more.

Specifically, the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act would:

  • Expand access to home and community-based alternative care programs to veterans at all VA medical facilities, including veterans living in U.S. territories and Native veterans enrolled in Indian Health Service (IHS) or tribal health programs;
  • Increasing the amount the VA will pay for health care from 65% to 100% for alternatives to nursing home care, such as home health care, adult day care, and assisted living;
  • Create a centralized website to share information and resources related to home and community-based programs and help veterans and caregivers determine their eligibility;
  • Require the VA to review staffing and resource needs, accessibility, and other aspects of the Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care and Caregiver Support Program Office to ensure they are appropriately serving veterans and caregivers;
  • Create a pilot program to provide home health aide services for veterans that reside in communities with a shortage of home health aides; and
  • Require the VA to establish a warm handoff process—a transfer of care from one health care provider to another in front of a patient, their family members, and/or caregiver—for veterans and caregivers who are discharged from or ineligible for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. This improves communication and the relationship between patients and providers.

Full text of the bill is available here.