Disabled Veterans National Foundation Endorses Bill to Increase Reimbursements for the Care of Elderly and Severely Disabled Soldiers

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The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF), is hailing a package of veteran-related bills passed last week in the U.S. House. One of the measures would allocate higher reimbursement rates to state veterans’ homes for the care they provide to severely disabled and elderly veterans.

The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF), a non-profit organization that exists to help to men and women who come home with emotional and physical wounds after serving the country, is hailing a package of veteran-related bills passed last week in the U.S. House. One of the measures would allocate higher reimbursement rates to state veterans’ homes for the care they provide to severely disabled and elderly veterans.

The legislation, which previously was approved by the Senate, has been forwarded to President Barack Obama for his signature.

“The passage of this legislation is significant, because it will reimburse state homes that care for our most fragile veterans at a level that is commensurate with what their care actually costs,” said Raegan Rivers, Chief Administrative Officer of the DVNF. “The deficit in reimbursement rates has hurt veterans care homes nationwide, and discouraged many of them from accepting the most severely disabled veterans – the heroes of our country who are most in need of our attention and care.” The DVNF actively lobbies to improve housing, medical care, employment and counseling to all disabled veterans, and offers help for veterans seeking state care homes and other veterans’ services.

The bill requires that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs enter into agreements with state veterans homes to ensure the homes are paid the actual cost of the care they provide. According to the National Association of State Veterans Homes, the average rate for such care is about $359 per veteran per day, and the VA currently reimburses the homes for only $235 a day. This daily difference of $124 amounts to more than $45,000 per year in losses for each covered veteran. There are about 25,000 beds nationwide allocated to these elderly and severely disabled veterans.

The bill has been in the works since 2009, when Maine Veterans’ Homes approached U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud about a fix to a new VA program that aimed to provide severely disabled veterans no-cost care, according to the Morning Sentinel.

Numerous state veterans' homes across the nation are being forced to restrict admission of veterans or to incur unsustainable financial losses, according to Kelley Kash, CEO of Maine Veterans' Homes, who first testified about the issue in 2010.

“Passing this legislation into law will ensure our state veterans homes are paid adequately for the services they provide and can continue to serve veterans that need care,” Michaud told the Sentinel.

The omnibus bill also included a measure to provide medical care to Marines or their family members who were sickened by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina during a 30-year period.

About Disabled Veterans National Foundation: The Disabled Veterans National Foundation exists to change the lives of men and women who came home wounded or sick after defending our safety and our freedom. A nonprofit 501c3, DVNF was founded in the fall of 2007 by six women veterans to expand their scope of work within the veteran's community. For more information, visit http://www.dvnf.org.

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Raegan Rivers, Chief Administrative Officer
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