Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Important Updates relating to the Veterans Access to Extended Care Act

Dana Halvorson

On March 16, Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI, 2nd) and Representative Jackie Walorski (R-IN, 2nd) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Veterans Access to Extended Care Act (S. 739/H.R. 1369), to expand veterans’ access to health care services. As you may know, it is long-standing policy that Medicare (Parts A and B) or Medicaid providers are not considered to be federal contractors. If a provider currently has VA patients, they are considered to be a federal contractor and under the Service Contract Act. Federal contracts come with extensive reporting requirements to the Department of Labor on the demographics of contractor employees and applicants, which have deterred providers, particularly smaller ones, from VA participation. The Veterans Access to Extended Care Act would ensure that providers could enter into VA Provider Agreements, without having to follow these complex federal contracting and reporting rules.

Here are a few important updates relating to the legislation you might be interested in knowing about. Thursday, one of our lead and key champions on this issue in the Senate, Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), (pictured) will be hosting a roundtable discussion with AHCA’s North Dakota State Executive, Shelly Peterson, and AHCA members on the legislation. On April 23, 2015, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs -- Subcommittee on Health -- will be holding a legislative hearing to review a few veterans related bills, including the Veterans Access to Extended Care Act. More details about this legislative hearing can be found here, and it will be held in 334 Cannon House Office Building at 10am ET. Finally, during two separate U.S. Senate hearings this past month with VA officials, the importance of VA provider agreements were raised in each.

If you have any questions on this legislation, please don’t hesitate to contact AHCA’s Senior Director of Not for Profit & Constituent Services, Dana Halvorson.

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