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What is the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act?

By: Camila Cal, SeniorLivingGuide.com

Are you aware of the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act? If the answer is no, listen up! SeniorLivingGuide.com Podcast was joined by Mark Gibbons, U.S. Army Veteran and President/CEO for RetireSafe.org, a nonprofit helping to raise the platform in education and awareness for seniors across the nation. He helped shed some light on the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act (H.R.542/S.141), which will benefit and support veterans and their caregivers. With the information Mark provided, let’s dive into the 5 Ws of this bill.

Who is Elizabeth Dole?  

Elizabeth Dole is a politician that has served in five presidential administrations, a past U.S. Senator for North Carolina, past president of the Red Cross, among other achievements. She is also the founder of the Elizabeth Dole foundation, which is focused on military caregivers. Her name is on this bill to honor her and all the great work she’s done for veterans.

What is the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act? What is included in it?

Currently, the VA covers 65% of the cost of a nursing home. This bill would increase the coverage to 100%. It would also expand home and community-based alternative care at all VA facilities, including veterans in Indian health services, tribal health programs, and living in U.S. territories. In Indian reservations, there is not a lot of care options/facilities that can handle veteran health issues so this bill would help their access and quality of care. The SeniorLivingGuide.com podcast bannerbill will also help create website with resources for home community-based care for veterans and their caregivers.

Part of this bill would establish a pilot program that would provide home health aide services to veterans that live in communities with a shortage of home health providers, a huge help to rural communities where access to care is limited. The VA will select ten geographic locations and relocate health providers to these areas. This would be a three-year program.

When will this bill be passed? 

The Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act has made it out of committee, and it is being vetted for costs and benefits. It’ll be a couple months from now before it is introduced for a vote. This is a bipartisan bill, both sides of the aisle know veterans are an important part of this country.

With the election year coming up, the likelihood is that the bill may be passed by late next year. Really, it depends on the administration.

Where can veterans find more information on how to apply for VA facilities?

Veterans have several options when considering VA specific living/care facilities; but often, admittance to these facilities requires a very long process. Veterans can also find facilities on their own and apply to get that program/facility recognized by the federal government. If you live two hours away from a VA recognized facility, then the VA would allow the veteran to go to a different, closer facility and compensate for up to 65% of costs. If you are disabled, you may have different coverage options depending on your level of disability. As you get older, veterans can apply to obtain a higher compensation. There are many variables for how to qualify for that higher level of compensation, such as if your disability is progressing because of time spent serving in a war zone or being exposes to chemicals, injuries, explosions, etc. Once you are evaluated and approved, you are really taken care of, Mark said.

Why is the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act important?

Part of the reason this bill was introduced is based on the fact that citizens/military veterans were being diagnosed with ALS, a military-service connected disease. Research suggests that exposures to chemicals like Agent Orange may be a leading cause to the diagnosis of ALS.

It’s a known issue that there’s a shortage of home-health care providers, and this bill would address that issue for veterans. Having someone consistently come in to take care of the veteran is not only a vital factor for their health but also assists in building trust and relationships, which will aid their overall quality of life. This bill would also help that quality of care remain affordable for veterans who have given so much of their lives in service.

After reading all about the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act, you might be wondering:

How can I help?

Mark urges readers to call your legislators and representatives! It’s easy to look them up online and send them an email, too. Mention the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act and emphasize that you think it’s a good bill. Attend a town hall meeting, interact with staff, and keep mentioning the name of this bill so that it’s always fresh in their minds. Attend their community events and meet them face-to-face to talk about the bill.

Social media has always become an important tool to reach legislators. Go on legislators’ websites, Facebook/Instagram posts and comment your support for this bill. Mark wants readers to remember: If you have a vested interest in something, you have a voice.

If you enjoyed this blog, you may be interested in topics on our senior and caregiver resource podcasts, visitSeniorLivingGuide.com Podcastor they can be found, listened and downloaded most anywhere you enjoy music or podcasts such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, and more! 

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