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Congress Passes Bill to Expand Long-Term Healthcare Coverage for Veterans

March 16, 2018, 9:03 AM HST
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The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed Sens. Mazie K. Hirono and Orrin G. Hatch’s (R-Utah) State Veterans Home Adult Day Health Care Improvement Act (S. 324). This bill ensures that severely disabled veterans are able to receive adult day healthcare services at no cost to them by defining the program as a reimbursable treatment option through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The Senate passed the bill in November 2017 and now goes to the president for signature into law.

“VA coverage of adult day healthcare allows Hawai‘i veterans and their families to afford comprehensive services to maintain their quality of life and care for their service-connected conditions,” said Sen. Hirono. “By passing the State Veterans Home Adult Day Health Care Improvement Act, Congress affirmed the importance of expanding access to this care for veterans in Hawai‘i and across the country.”

The Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo is one of a few state veterans homes across the country that offers adult day healthcare services, which allow veterans in need of nursing home care to live in their own homes while receiving comprehensive medical, nursing and personal care services.

The VA currently covers about one third of the cost of adult day healthcare for eligible veterans at state veterans homes. The remaining expense of the program is paid for the facility or directly by veterans and their families, which significantly limits the number of veterans who can enroll.

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The State Veterans Home Adult Day Health Care Improvement Act is supported by the National Association of State Veterans Homes (NASVH), the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and AMVETS.

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