GOVERNOR NAPOLITANO URGES CONGRESS TO PROTECT FUNDING OF VETERANS HOMES
Joins 16 governors to address proposed federal budget
Governor Janet Napolitano, along with governors of 16 other states, this week wrote to Congress' Committee on Veterans' Affairs, urging members "to preserve the viability of our State Veterans Homes."
In the proposed Department of Veterans Affairs federal budget for fiscal year 2006, the eligibility requirements for the State Veterans Homes are revised, leaving many veterans ineligible for some benefits. In some states, these changes could affect the eligibility of more than 80 percent of veterans now using the services offered at State Veterans Homes.
"These veterans dedicated their lives to protecting us," said Napolitano. "In return, we need to provide quality health care to them. Approving the revisions in the proposed budget could be detrimental to this commitment."
Currently, the federal government assists State Veterans Homes by paying per diem for eligible veterans, and covers up to 65% of the cost of construction or acquisition of State Homes. More than 27,500 veterans in 48 states are provided long-term care in the nation's 117 State Veterans Homes.
The Arizona State Veterans Home, operated by the state, is a 200-bed nursing facility in central
Phoenix, and operates at near capacity.