Disabled vet suing Veterans Administration over forced move to nursing home

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An Oregon veteran with Lou Gehrig's disease who relies on 24-hour care is suing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs because officials are forcing him to move to an out-of-state nursing home.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Michael Williamson said he has received in-home care through the Roseburg VA Health Care System for the last 17 years.

But the contractor that provides his services notified him late last year that it would stop serving him in February because of a lack of local caregivers, Oregon Live reported.

Williamson has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease. He relies on a ventilator and a feeding tube.

Before he was diagnosed, he served 14 years in the U.S. Air Force, including time in Iraq and Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm.

Instead of finding a new provider, Williamson claims officials at the Roseburg VA Health Care System told him to move to a nursing home in either San Francisco; Boise, ID; or Puget Sound in Washington.

"People shouldn't have to go to a hospital or institution to get care," said Emily Cooper, legal director for Disability Rights Oregon, which is handling Williamson's case.

The U.S. Department of Justice said it is reviewing his claims.

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