Standing with veterans, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced his support for bipartisan legislation that would provide to-and-from-home health care services to any veteran with a service-connected disability rated 70 percent or more. Schumer said that expanding these health services would help improve the quality of life for countless veterans across the country, as it would allow them to "age in place' and remain in their homes as they grow older.
"There's no place like home for our Long Island veterans and that's why I'm urging the Senate to pass this legislation, which will provide low-cost in-home health care services to our disabled vets," said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. "These brave men and women fought to protect our freedom and it is our duty to protect them by providing access to high quality health care services like Adult Day Health Care. I will work hard in Congress to make sure our nation's heroes get the health care services they need."
Schumer said that there are currently three State Veteran Homes, including Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook, that provide "Adult Day Health Care' services (ADHC), no-cost skilled nursing care, on-site. However, non-institutional alternatives do not exist for veterans. Schumer is urging the Senate to pass "State Veterans Home Adult Day Health Care Improvement Act of 2016" so that veterans on Long Island and across the country can have access to in-home nursing services..
Schumer continued, "This bill would be a lifeline to thousands of veterans right here on Long Island -- and across the country. It will also provide an added comfort of knowing that they can live independently at home while having access to much-needed health care services."
Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) is a medical model in which patients receive medically-supervised services without being institutionalized in nursing homes. ADHC programs also allow for additional patients because they can be cared for without requiring additional space for housing. In New York State, ADHC provides medically-supervised supervises which may include: nursing, transportation, leisure activities, physical therapy, speech pathology, nutrition assessment, occupational therapy, medical social services, psychosocial assessment, rehabilitation and socialization, nursing evaluation and treatment, coordination of referrals for outpatient health and dental services.
In 2006, Congress passed a law that offered any veteran with a 70% or more service-connected disability "no cost" skilled nursing care at any State Veteran Home. However, Schumer said that this provision did not go far enough because it did not include ADHC, a non-institutional alternative for veterans.
The "State Veterans Home Adult Day Health Care Improvement Act of 2016" (S.3198), introduced by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) expands this law to include ADHC services. Specifically, the bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to enter into an agreement or a contract with each state home to pay for medical supervision model ADHC for a veteran for whom the home is not receiving VA nursing home care payments. The veteran must need such care either specifically for a service-connected disability, or, if not specifically for one, the veteran must have a service-connected disability rated 70% or more. Payment under each agreement or contract between the VA and a state home must equal 65% of the payment that the VA would otherwise pay to the state home if the veteran were receiving nursing home care.
The corresponding House bill, HR 2460, introduced by Rep. Lee Zeldin, unanimously passed earlier this year. The bill is fully endorsed by the American Legion, the VFW, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, and the Air Force Association.