Last week, HCAOA CEO Vicki Hoak met with majority and minority staff of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to discuss HCAOA’s support of S. 141 - the Elizabeth Dole Act. During the meeting, it was confirmed that the Committee intends to eliminate Section 3 of the bill, which would have increased funding for home and community-based services, including Homemaker Home Health Aide services, citing the high costs of the increase as the reason.
With so many HCAOA members providing care to thousands of veterans each year, HCAOA sent a letter to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee urging them to keep this critical section in the bill.
In the letter, Hoak reiterated statements from a General Accounting Office (GAO) report that found the average cost of institutional care per veteran in nursing homes was $268 per day, or nearly $98,000 per year. At the same time, VA data showed the average cost per veteran receiving non-institutional care was only $5,500 a year.
“While the CBO score, which is the estimated cost of increasing HCBS funding, showed a 35 percent increase in non-institutional costs over 10 years, it did not calculate the savings of shifting care to the more preferred and cost-effective care. The current cap on in-home care does not necessarily reduce the Department’s health care obligations to veterans, it just redirects them to the least preferred care setting and most costly,” Hoak said in the letter.
Members are encouraged to send a message to their members of Congress to urge them to keep the Dole Act intact and oppose efforts to eliminate increased funding for HCBS.
“It’s our turn to stand up for our veterans, who have stood up for us when it really mattered,” said Hoak. “I ask each member to take a few minutes to visit the HCAOA Legislative Action Network and click to send a message to your respective legislators.