Senator Mike Johanns today sent a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki asking his department to clarify regulations that change how state-run veteran nursing homes are compensated.
"I am asking the VA to make a quick assessment of this situation because time is of the essence," Johanns said. "Our veterans risk losing much-needed access to veteran state-run nursing home care because the new per diem rates are not sufficient to cover total care. This is unacceptable."
New VA regulations set a per-diem for certain disabled veterans in state-operated nursing homes. The new per-diem is intended to cover the total cost of nursing home care for these veterans, including basic medical care and medication. However, the regulation's wording of the new limit has resulted in confusion about what additional medical care coverage veterans are entitled to. Since the cost of drugs and medication can sometimes run well past the per-diem limit, some state homes and veterans are concerned that they may have to pay the additional costs out of pocket, rather than receive coverage from VA medical centers and Medicare/Medicaid. The financial burden of such a policy would be severe, and could potentially result in fewer disabled veterans being able to receive nursing home care in state-operated homes.