Wednesday, May 1, 2019

U.S. Senate Hearing and Implementation of Veterans Care Agreements

Dana Halvorson

Yesterday, at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee, Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) urged the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie to ensure his long-term care (LTC) legislation is properly implemented, allowing veterans to access more of these services closer to home. Key provisions of the senator’s legislation, the Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act, were signed into law last year as part of the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act.  The senator’s legislation allows the VA to enter into Veterans Care Agreements with qualified LTC providers, including nursing care centers.  The VA is expected to roll out proposed regulations relating to Veterans Care Agreements before the June 2019 implementation date, and Senator Hoeven is working to ensure the VA’s new LTC regulations remove duplicative layers of review and match the standards under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  Aligning with CMS rules would provide relief from onerous and often times costly federal contracting requirements and enable more LTC providers to accept veteran patients.

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) worked with Senator Hoeven and other key Congressional champions on the Hill to get Veterans Care Agreements signed into law last year.  At yesterday’s hearing, Hoeven received commitment from the VA to hold a webinar in the near future for AHCA’s members and other LTC providers educating them and answering questions on these new agreements and the Community Care Network (CCN).  If you have any questions relating to this matter, please contact AHCA’s Senior Director of Not for Profit & Constituent Services, Dana Halvorson, at dhalvorson@ahca.org.        

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