Military Connection: Companion Veteran Legislation

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By Debbie Gregory.

As a service member, you supported and defended the Constitution and the American way of life. As a Veteran, it’s important to continue that patriotism and citizenship by taking part in the processes that run your country. This means voting, being aware of current legislation and policies, and contacting your elected leaders and telling them how best to represent you, especially when it comes to Veteran-centric legislation.

On March 16, 2015, a pair of bills were introduced, one into each house of Congress, that are designed to provide Veterans with greater access to long-term care centers in their communities.

The Veterans Access to Extended Care Act has been introduced into the House as H.R. 1369 and into the Senate as S. 739. Together, this set of companion bi-partisan legislation is paving the way for improved programs for older Veterans and Veterans who need long-term care.

H.R. 1369 was introduced by Representative Jackie Walorski (R-Indiana) and co-sponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii),and  Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pennsylvania).

S. 739 was introduced by Senator John Hoeven (R-North Dakota) and cosponsored by Joe Manchin (D- West Virginia).

The summary of both forms of the legislation read as:

Veterans Access to Extended Care Act of 2015

This bill modifies the treatment of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) agreements with service providers to furnish veterans with nursing home care, adult day health care, or other extended care services.

Any such agreement shall:

  • not be treated as a federal contract for the acquisition of goods or services and shall be not subject to any provision of law governing federal contracts for the acquisition of goods or services, and
  • include specified requirements (such as for medical licensing and VA review of staff and facilities) to ensure the safety and quality of care furnished to veterans pursuant to such agreement.

The failure of a provider to comply with a provision of the agreement may result in VA termination of the agreement.

Such agreements are exempted from the application of certain public contract labor laws.

Both bills were read on the floors of their respective chambers, and referred to their houses’ Committee on Veterans Affairs. Be sure to frequent www.Congree.gov to check on the Veterans Access to Extended Care Act in both forms of the bill, H.R. 1369 and S. 739. Be sure to contact your representatives and senators and tell them how you want them to vote on these and other bills on your behalf.

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Military Connection: Companion Veteran Legislation: By Debbie Gregory