Walorski Calls on VA to Deliver Long-Term Care Solutions for Veterans

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Walorski Calls on VA to Deliver Long-Term Care Solutions for Veterans

“We stand ready to work alongside the VA to provide solutions to our Hoosier veterans and ensure these heroes receive the quality care they deserve.”

MISHAWAKA. Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today urged U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough to provide improved care to U.S. veterans seeking long-term care (LTC), including ensuring quality care facilities close to veterans’ homes and family support.

“Veterans in Indiana and across the country have served and sacrificed to secure our freedom and defend the homeland. Our grateful nation must deliver on our promises to them,” said Congresswoman Walorski. “We stand ready to work alongside the VA to provide solutions to our Hoosier veterans and ensure these heroes receive the quality care they deserve.”

Congresswoman Walorski has heard from Hoosier veterans about stark challenges they have faced in being transferred between VA-contracted LTC facilities, often increasingly far away from their loved ones. She sent today’s letter jointly with Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.).

“We are writing to share challenges that have been brought to our attention by veterans having difficulty getting placed in a long-term care (LTC) facility that is easily accessible to their network of support,” Reps. Walorski and Banks wrote to Secretary McDonough. “Veterans have shared with us that they are being relocated from one facility to another on relatively short notice, and that with each move their families are facing driving times exceeding two hours each direction to visit their loved ones.”

In their letter to Secretary McDonough, the members encouraged the VA to partner with Congress to provide solutions for the courageous men and women who have served our nation.

“Veterans receiving treatment at a LTC facility already experience stress and anguish not being at home or near loved ones. Being relocated farther away just adds to the stress and hardship and is not conducive to the standard of care veterans have earned,” they continued.

The full letter is available here and below.

May 4, 2022

The Honorable Denis McDonough
Secretary
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20420

Dear Secretary McDonough:

We are writing to share challenges that have been brought to our attention by veterans having difficulty getting placed in a long-term care (LTC) facility that is easily accessible to their network of support. Veterans have shared with us that they are being relocated from one facility to another on relatively short notice, and that with each move their families are facing driving times exceeding two hours each direction to visit their loved ones.

As our veteran population continues to age, we understand it can get more challenging to care for them. In the past when our staff and county veteran service officers expressed their frustration with the lack of private care facilities contracting with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), they were told private facilities may be less inclined to contract with the VA to care for veterans. The reason provided for this reluctance was that veterans in LTC facilities are more likely to experience acute health care challenges that may complicate a facility’s efforts to remain compliant with health care quality standards set by state licensing agencies. While we understand this factor may be a challenge, we hope to partner with the VA to find an effective solution to address the needs of Hoosier veterans.

To provide an example for your reference, one veteran who contacted us had been at the same LTC facility for 30 years. His stay at that facility came to an end in 2014 due to the facility terminating their contract with the VA. Since then, the veteran has been transferred to multiple facilities and each transfer has left him further and further away from his home and family. Veterans receiving treatment at a LTC facility already experience stress and anguish not being at home or near loved ones. Being relocated farther away just adds to the stress and hardship and is not conducive to the standard of care veterans have earned.

We would appreciate answers to the following questions:

  1. Is this challenge unique to Indiana or has the VA experienced issues contracting with LTC facilities for veterans in other states?
  2. What is the VA’s current policy on LTC facilities for veterans and their standards of care?
  3. If the VA is experiencing challenges contracting with LTC facilities to provide long term care, what plans are you putting in place to address these issues?
  4. Are there specific policy recommendations you could share with us that might help address this problem?

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

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