Sen. Kaine, colleagues introduce legislation to expand healthcare for America’s aging veterans
Health, Politics, U.S. & World

Sen. Kaine, colleagues introduce legislation to expand healthcare for America’s aging veterans

Rebecca Barnabi
veteran uniform
(© Bumble Dee –

The Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act would expand access to home and community-based services (HCBS) for aging veterans.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committees, joined Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas, Jon Tester of Montana and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire in cosponsoring the legislation, which honors former Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s passion for supporting veterans and their caregivers.

HCBS includes long term services and supports (LTSS). The goal is to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)’s support for veterans and caregivers of all ages.

Many veterans covered by a VA health plan are in need of HCBS but such services are unavailable in their community. The bill would require the VA to coordinate with local Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which provide HCBS in local communities. HCBS allows veterans to remain in their homes and communities.

“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for us, and we owe it to them to ensure they have access to the high-quality care and services they need,” Kaine said. “The Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act would do just that by improving access to home and community-based services, sharing resources, addressing the shortage of direct support workers, home health care providers and supporting caregivers.”

Specifically, the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act would:

  • Expand access to home and community-based alternative care programs to veterans at all VA medical facilities, including veterans living in U.S. territories and Native veterans enrolled in Indian Health Service (IHS) or tribal health programs;
  • Increasing the amount the VA will pay for health care from 65 percent to 100 percent for alternatives to nursing home care, such as home health care, adult day care, and assisted living;
  • Create a centralized website to share information and resources related to home and community-based programs and help veterans and caregivers determine their eligibility;
  • Require the VA to review staffing and resource needs, accessibility, and other aspects of the Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care and Caregiver Support Program Office to ensure they are appropriately serving veterans and caregivers;
  • Create a pilot program to provide home health aide services for veterans that reside in communities with a shortage of home health aides; and
  • Require the VA to establish a warm handoff process — a transfer of care from one health care provider to another in front of a patient, their family members, and/or caregiver — for veterans and caregivers who are discharged from or ineligible for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. This improves communication and the relationship between patients and providers.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.