Proposed legislation could provide alternative to nursing care

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The Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act—or H.R. 5693—calls for the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide veterans who are no longer capable of living independently an alternative to traditional nursing home care. Rather than placing a veteran in a Community Living Center (nursing home), the veteran would receive the care they need through VA’s Medical Foster Home program with medical support from VA’s Home-Based Primary Care program.

Medical Foster Homes are adult foster homes where no more than three veterans with serious chronic disabling conditions requiring nursing home level care and coordination of services are able to reside in their community rather than in a nursing home. Medical Foster Homes have a caregiver on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. VA ensures that the caregiver is screened and well trained to provide VA planned care and help the veteran carry out basic activities of daily living. While living in a Medical Foster Home, veterans receive Home-Based Primary Care.

Home-Based Primary Care allows veterans to receive health care services from a team of VA providers in their home. A VA physician supervises the program for veterans who need skilled services, case management and help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, fixing meals or taking medicines. This program is also for veterans who are isolated or unable to safely live independently.

“This bill would provide an alternative healthcare option extending the time service-disabled veterans can stay in their communities in a home-like setting,” said DAV National Legislative Director Joy Ilem. “Research confirms ill and injured veterans are highly satisfied and experience a higher quality of life living in a Medical Foster Home.”