Provider association concerned state veterans homes being overbuilt

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The head of the American Health Care Association used Congressional testimony to both laud the federal government for its care of military veterans but also question whether existing rules were being followed concerning the build-up of states' veterans nursing homes.

"We must carefully weigh the efficacy of constructing new State Veterans Homes when the possibility already exists for quality care within the community," said President and CEO Charles H. Roadman II MD, CNA, in written testimony before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs at a Wednesday hearing on various veterans' long-term care programs.

Under Senate Bill 1156, which was quietly signed in to law late last year, community nursing homes can form less bureaucratic "agreements" with the Veterans Administration to make care of veterans easier.

But the construction of additional state nursing homes remains a concern to AHCA's member "community" nursing homes. Roadman told the committee members they should make sure the VA sticks to existing federal statutes that lead to the appropriateness of approving more construction.

"We laud Congress for passing the Millennium Act that specified in statute that the methodology for establishing the need for new veterans' beds must take into account the number of available community nursing facility beds in each state," Roadman said. "We believe that failure to include availability of community nursing home beds has the potential to discriminate against long-term care providers' nursing home care and services to veterans through contracts."

To read Roadman's full written testimony, visit www.ahca.org/brief/test040128.htm.