Bipartisan legislation honors and advances Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s mission ensuring veterans are properly cared for
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema cosponsored the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act — bipartisan legislation expanding the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) caregiver programs to increase resources for veterans in need of assistance.
The bipartisan bill named after former Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) enhances the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) and raises the VA expenditure cap on non-institutional care.
“Caregivers help veterans in need navigate day-to-day activities with a sense of independence and freedom. Our legislation ensures the VA’s caregiver programs provide veterans and their caregivers with the critical resources and support they’ve earned through their service and sacrifice,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
Sinema cosponsored the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act following a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing regarding the VA’s caregiver programs. During the hearing Sinema heard from witnesses, including members from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, about caregivers’ concerns of disenrollment from the PCAFC. Following Sinema’s urging, the VA announced that it would halt the discharge of legacy participants in the PCAFC.
The Sinema-backed bill expands the caregiver program and assists caregivers and veterans who are no longer eligible to be a part of the PCAFC. Specifically, it requires the development of standardized assessment tools, creates a digital hub for caregiver resources, and enhances coordination with nonprofits and Veterans Service Organizations to cover gaps in resources. The legislation seeks to keep veterans out of nursing homes by strengthening VA Home-Based Community services and requires a VA report with recommendations on expanding mental health services to caregivers.
Earlier this year, Sinema conducted a roundtable with Arizona Veterans Service Organizations to discuss multiple key priorities for Arizona’s veteran community, including the VA’s family caregiver programs. Last month, Sinema convened a meeting with her Veterans Advisory Council to discuss how to best support Arizona’s veterans community. During the meeting, Sinema pledged to work with VA leadership and affirmed her commitment to continue working to address challenges facing Arizona servicemembers, veterans, and their families.