Bipartisan Bill to Improve Availability of VA HCBS Introduced in the House
By PVA Staff
For several months, PVA’s Government Relations team has been working with House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC) staff on legislation that would greatly improve the availability of VA’s Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) for our members. That bill, H.R. 6823, the Elizabeth Dole Home and Community Based Services for Veterans and Caregivers Act of 2022, was introduced on February 25 and it would make urgently needed improvements to VA HCBS.
If passed, H.R. 6823 would raise existing caps on noninstitutional care from 65 percent of the cost of nursing home care to 100 percent. It also requires VA to establish a Veteran Directed Care (VDC) program at each VA medical center and ensure the program is available in the U.S. territories as well. It would also allow catastrophically disabled veterans to continue to use funds under the VDC program during a period of hospitalization to hire an attendant to assist with their non-medical needs during hospitalization.
Other provisions in the bill help pave the way for greater veteran participation in critical support programs such as Homemaker and Home Health Aide, Home-Based Primary Care, and Skilled Home Care. Additional language ensures careful consideration is given to the health care needs of any veteran who is removed from the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC), ensuring they receive a smooth and personalized transition from the PCAFC to an appropriate program within VA that meets their needs for noninstitutional extended care services. The bill also includes a pilot program to address direct care worker shortages.
PVA thanks HVAC, Subcommittee on Health Chairwoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) and Ranking Member Jack Bergman (R-MI) for introducing this extremely important legislation that targets so many of our concerns about current VA HCBS program shortfalls. We call on Congress to quickly pass this desperately needed legislation.
I am very excited about this new legislation! As a former family caregiver for 14 consecutive years, I realize the importance and significance of having a strong care team in place.