Bill introduced bearing the name of former Sen. Elizabeth Dole
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A bill to help veterans receive home health care will bear the name of late Senator Bob Dole’s wife, Elizabeth, who tirelessly helped veterans throughout her own time as a senator.
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) says Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) joined him to introduce the Elizabeth Dole Home and Community Based Services for Veterans and Caregivers Act. He said the bill will help expand community-based services for aging and homebound veterans.
“Senator Elizabeth Dole represents the millions of caregivers who have worked behind the scenes to care for our nation’s veterans who are impacted by advanced age or catastrophic injuries,” said Sen. Moran, ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Caregivers help these homebound veterans maintain their independence and stay in their own homes in their own communities for as long as possible. The Elizabeth Dole Act is a concrete step in the right direction and delays the need to send these veterans to long-term institutional care by expanding access to home and community-based programs and increasing coordination efforts. It is fitting we name this legislation after an honorary Kansan – Elizabeth Dole – who has worked as an advocate to honor and recognize our veterans and their caregivers.”
Also referred to as the Elizabeth Dole Act, Moran said the legislation exemplifies the former Senator’s passion for finding lasting solutions for veterans in need of long-term care and their caregivers.
“Veterans who have served bravely in defense of our freedoms must have access to the health care that they need, and for many, that includes the work of caregivers,” said Sen. Hassan, a member of SVAC. “We must recognize the incredible work of caregivers who allow veterans to maintain their independence and self-determination – the very values that they fought for in uniform. The Elizabeth Dole Act recognizes the critical work of caregivers and helps expand home and community-based services for our nation’s veterans. I urge my colleagues to pass our bipartisan bill and honor the promise we made for veterans to be there for them.”
Moran said the bill would increase the expenditure cap for noninstitutional care alternative programs from 65% to 100%. He said it also establishes partnerships to host alternative care programs in the community and will require Department of Veterans Affairs coordination with other VA programs.
“In rural Montana where health care options can be few and far between, family caregivers continue to face challenges accessing high-quality care for their loved ones,” said Sen. Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Our bipartisan bill will expand home and community-based health services for our most vulnerable veterans—providing veterans and their caregivers the support they need right at home.”
Moran also said the bill would expand access to home and community-based alternative care programs to veterans and native veterans enrolled in IHS or tribal health programs.
“Fittingly, this bill is a true reflection of Senator Elizabeth Dole’s legacy,” said Steve Schwab, CEO of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “It helps uphold the promise our nation makes to the military families bearing the wounds and illnesses of war. It is precisely focused on providing solutions that will directly address the most common and persistent hardships of our veterans, their families, and their caregivers. We applaud Senators Moran, Hassan, and Tester for bringing this transformational legislation to the Senate floor.”
Lastly, Moran said the bill would require the creation of a website to forward information and resources related to the programs. He said a pilot program would be created for home health aide services for veterans who live in communities with a shortage. He said it would also require the VA to establish a warm handoff process for veterans and caregivers ineligible for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.
To read the full text of the bill, click HERE.
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