AHCA rallies behind veterans care access bill

Share this content:

Long-term care providers are praising the re-introduction of the Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act by Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) on Thursday.

The act would expand veteran access to long-term care by removing the red tape that currently surrounds VA Provider Agreements, officials said.

Currently, the VA can enter federal contracts with non-VA providers in rural areas, but many long-term care facilities do not admit VA patients because of regulations and reporting requirements.

However, when LTC facilities contract with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, they do not need to follow these same requirements. The legislation would make the requirements the same whether facilities are working with the VA or CMS.

The act would let the VA enter provider agreements with qualified healthcare and extended care facilities. By doing so, it would allow more providers to accept veterans because they can bypass federal contracting requirements.

“This crucial legislation ensures that America's veterans have access to extended care services from providers who are closer to veterans' homes and community support structures,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living.

Hoeven received a commitment earlier this year from the VA secretary, David Shulkin, to work together on this. He also secured a provision in the fiscal 2018 VA funding bill for congressional support to allow non-VA long-term care facilities to enter provider agreements with the VA.