Senator’s bill, backed by Arizona veterans, requires the VA to expand access to long-term care options for veterans
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the bipartisan Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act—legislation requiring the VA to expand veterans’ access to the Medical Foster Home (MFH) program. This VA program allows veterans in need of long-term care to choose to live in the home of a VA-approved caregiver, rather than enter into institutional care. Sinema’s bipartisan bill will save Arizona veterans thousands of dollars on critical long-term care, while providing veterans with the option to stay in their communities in a home-like setting where they can receive personalized care.
“Arizona veterans who sacrificed for our freedoms deserve affordable, quality health care. Increasing options for veterans who would prefer to remain in their communities rather than nursing homes will support veterans’ quality of life and save money for veterans and taxpayers,” said Sinema.
“Choice and options are what our veterans tell us they want in their healthcare and housing. To honor their service, we should provide it. Bringing in MFH housing as an option for long term care is the right move,” said Blackburn.
Currently, the VA has an approved Medical Foster Home program, allowing veterans with serious conditions who need a nursing home level of care but prefer a non-institutional setting to live in private homes of VA-approved caregivers. The VA program allows no more than three veterans to reside in the same home to ensure a high level of personalized care and promote a family-like setting. Unfortunately, the VA does not cover the care of this program and veterans must pay out-of-pocket for this option. The typical rate in a traditional nursing home is $7,000 a month, while the cost of a medical foster home is $1,500-$3,000 a month. Sinema’s Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act requires the VA to cover the cost of care of the medical foster home program, potentially saving Arizona veterans thousands of dollars a month.
Sinema has long been a champion for Arizona veterans and servicemembers. Last year, Sinema’s LEGION Act, which extends American Legion membership to honorably discharged veterans since World War II, and her Protecting Affordable Mortgages for Veterans Act, which safeguards veterans from predatory loan practices and helps them more easily access their earned homeowner benefits, became law.
Last year, Sinema championed into law the bipartisan Sgt. Daniel Somers Network of Support Act, which was named after Sgt. Daniel Somers—an Arizona Army veteran who lost his life to suicide. Sinema’s bipartisan law requires the Department of Defense to work with the American Red Cross to collect from new servicemembers the names of loved ones they consider to be their networks of support. The Department of Defense will provide those individuals with information about benefits and services available to military members.
Sinema introduced and advanced out of committee, the bipartisan Veterans Network of Support Act—legislation that ensures the VA has a similar system in place to help veterans thrive in civilian life.