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Old 02-20-2020, 03:17 PM
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Exclamation GAO: VA must improve plans for providing long-term care to aging veterans

GAO: VA must improve plans for providing long-term care to aging veterans
By: Patricia Kime - Military Times - 02-20-20

Note: What a shameful consideration to consider! (Boats)

Photo link:
U.S. Battle of the Bulge veterans, front row, listen to the U.S. national anthem during a ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge at the Mardasson Memorial in Bastogne, Belgium on Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. The number of aging veterans with complex service-connected disabilities is expected to grow, requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to plan for their care. (Francisco Seco/AP)

Veterans are increasingly relying on the Department of Veterans Affairs for long-term care as they age, and with the cost expected to double in the next 20 years, the department must be prepared, the Government Accountability Office has warned.

In 2018, more than 500,000 veterans received long-term care from the VA — either in a nursing home run by the VA, the states or private companies, or through elder care and home support programs. By 2037, the number is expected to increase with rising number of aging veterans, especially those in the highest service-connected disability groups.

As a result, VA projects its long-term care costs will increase from $6.9 billion to $14.3 billion by 2037, and it has been planning for the expense, according to GAO. But the government watchdog agency still has concerns that the department won’t be able to meet demand.

In a report released Wednesday, GAO analysts said VA is likely to face difficulties hiring enough workers, providing services to veterans in rural areas and adequately supporting those with specialized needs — problems it already struggles to address.

For example, GAO said, VA has challenges hiring employees such as nursing assistants and health technicians for its community living centers, 80 percent of which have vacancies. The short-staffing often leads to veterans being placed on wait lists for these VA-run nursing homes, according to GAO.

VA also has difficulties providing long-term care in places where veterans live, particularly rural areas where demand is high and capacity is low. While the problem is not unique to VA — many health care companies struggle to staff and maintain remote facilities, GAO noted — the department also must anticipate the residential preferences of a fairly mobile population.

For example, over the past two decades, veterans have moved from the Northeast to the South, leaving VA with too many beds in the Northeast and not enough nursing-home spots in the South.

Finally, GAO is concerned about VA’s ability to provide care for veterans needing specialized services for dementia, behavioral problems and ventilator support. In some communities, these services are available at VA-supported nursing homes while in others, they are only available at private nursing homes in the community.

VA needs to do a better job envisioning the level of service veterans will need, GAO analysts said. It should establish measurable goals such as targets for the number of available ventilators or caregivers needed to help veterans with dementia.

It also must develop measurable goals for meeting demand despite workforce challenges and regardless of a veteran’s location, the report recommended.

“VA’s Geriatrics and Extended Care office … has not established measurable goals for these efforts. Without measurable goals, VA is limited in its ability to address the challenges it faces meeting veterans’ long-term needs,” GAO analysts wrote.

Veterans enrolled in VA health care are eligible for long-term care if they need assistance for a service-connected disability or have a VA disability rating of 70 percent or higher.

VA manages three “institutional,” or nursing home, programs and 11 non-institutional programs, such as adult day care, medical foster homes an home respite care.

In the department’s response to GAO, VA Chief of Staff Pamela Powers said VA concurred with the recommendations and noted that VA was already was tackling the issues. According to Powers, the Geriatrics and Extended Care office met in January with several Veterans Health Administration offices to forge a “strategic approach to meet the long-term care challenges facing our aging and/or disabled veterans population.”

About this writer: Patricia Kime is a senior writer covering military and veterans health care, medicine and personnel issues.
Personal note:

Note: Who created the VA & when?

President Hoover created the Veterans Administration (VA) in 1930 to consolidate all veteran services. General Omar N. Bradley was appointed to VA administrator and Bradley appointed Major General Paul Hawley as director of VA medicine, both in 1945.

The VA is funded through the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MILCON-VA) appropriations bill. ... The President's FY2018 budget request for the VA is $182.66 billion. Compared with the FY2017-enacted amount of $176.94 billion, this would be a 3.23% (or $5.72 billion) increase.

Veterans' benefits are also excluded from Federal taxable income. The following amounts paid to Veterans or their Families are not taxable: Education, training, and subsistence allowances. Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid either to Veterans or their Families.

Note: WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump signed the Department of Veterans Affairs fiscal 2019 budget into law on Friday, giving the department a funding boost of more than 6 percent and pushing the agency's total spending over $200 billion for the first time.


Personal note: I think its shameful to even consider this provision! A disgrace to the Men and Women who've served. Who brought up this consideration! I want to know!

Here's a link of interest: About VA (which started in 1636) by the Pilgrams and and hospital care in 1811). More on this site - Re:


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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