Today, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin announced that VA plans to propose changes to regulations for its State Veterans Home Construction Grant Program to make it easier to for States to receive VA funding to construct Veterans homes in rural areas.
State Veterans Homes provide Veterans with nursing home, domiciliary or adult day health care and are owned, operated and managed by State governments.
Currently, the construction grant regulations focus on Veteran demographics as well as nursing home and domiciliary bed need within a State, when determining priority group placement based on projected demand for assistance. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for some rural areas to compete for VA State Home Construction Grants.
In highly rural areas, there could be a 500-mile distance from one State Veterans Home to the next, which gives family members limited options when searching for a conveniently located facility for a Veteran family member.
By incorporating a consideration for the need of Veterans in rural areas into the ranking priorities for grant applications in the regulations, rural States may find it easier to compete for the limited VA construction grant funding that is available.
“We want to remove the red tape,” said Secretary Shulkin. “Veterans in rural areas need to be able to get nursing home care when it’s needed as close as possible to their homes, families and friends. Changes in VA regulations can save families from having to travel long distances to visit a loved one in a facility far from home. ”
VA anticipates that the revision of these regulations will be completed by the end of this calendar year (2017). The updated regulations will be available for public comment. VA is working to ensure that the updated regulations go into effect as soon as possible.
For more information about State Veterans Homes, visit www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/Guide/LongTermCare/State_Veterans_Homes.asp.