Washington, D.C. (December 22, 2021) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Congressman Derek Kilmer (WA-06) today introduced the Planning for Aging Veterans Act to support the long-term care needs of veterans in Washington State and across the country.
This legislation would pave the way for future investments in long-term care, improve the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) relationship with State veterans homes, and expand the care veterans residing in state-run veterans homes receive.
“The selfless men and women who served in our military have given so much both at home and overseas. As they retire from the service and get older, it’s critical that we step up as Americans to make sure they have access to every resource to meet their changing health care needs,” said Rodgers. “I’m proud to lead the Planning for Aging Veterans Act with Congressman Kilmer to make sure veterans in Washington and across the country have options for long-term care, including in-home and community-based services, which are so important for senior veterans to age comfortably and peacefully. This bill is a small step towards providing the heroes of our country with the retirement care they’ve earned in service to our nation.”
Nearly 50 percent of the nine million veterans currently enrolled in the VA’s health care system are at least 65 years of age. From 2018 to 2028, the number of enrolled veterans aged 75 and older is projected to grow by 46 percent. With this rapid increase in aging veterans, VA’s Community Living Centers, community nursing homes, and State veterans homes will play an increasingly pivotal role in providing long-term care.
“If you served our country, the federal government should have your back,” said Kilmer. “That’s why I’m working to ensure that our brave veterans have the long-term care that they need to live a life with dignity. The Planning for Aging Veterans Act is an important bill to ensure the VA steps up to help ensure all veterans in our region, and in every corner of our country, have the support and care that they have earned and deserve.”
Specifically, the Planning for Aging Veterans Act will:
- Require the VA to develop a strategy to address the current and future long-term care needs of veterans and identify areas for future investment.
- Instruct the VA to work with public housing authorities and local organizations to assist aging homeless veterans in accessing existing housing and supportive services.
- Standardize the process across VA for medical centers entering into sharing agreements with State homes.
- Clarify VA policy to ensure catastrophically disabled veterans residing in a State home receive their medications without a copayment (as they would if they resided elsewhere).
- Require that any deficiencies during State home inspections are reported to the VA and inspection reports are published on the VA website.
- Create a pilot program to provide geriatric psychiatry assistance to eligible veterans at State homes.
CLICK HERE to read the bill.