March 2, 2015
Cristina Marcos | The Hill
The House passed a bill Monday night that would authorize the Department of Veterans' Affairs to enter contracts with medical foster homes to pay for veterans' long-term care.
Passed 405-0, the measure would cover expenses for up to 900 veterans unable to live independently and placed in medical foster homes starting on Oct. 1. The bill further caps the bonuses for VA employees to $300 million through fiscal 2018 and $360 million for the subsequent five years through 2024. House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) said that the VA can end up paying more for veterans' health care by not covering medical foster home care.
"This creates a situation where many service-connected veterans are limited with their financial resources and are unable to access the medical foster home care that they desire because of limited financial resources. Instead, these veterans often move into nursing homes at a much greater expense to VA," Miller said.
Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), the top Democrat on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, noted that medical foster home care is often preferred by veterans and is less expensive than nursing homes.
"These homes provide care in a private home at much lower costs than nursing home care," Brown said. "Medical foster homes are safe, and we know through experience that many veterans prefer them to the traditional nursing home."
In addition, the House passed legislation Monday night by voice vote to authorize the VA secretary to recoup bonuses paid out to VA employees.