New Act Hopes to Change Veterans Care Services in N.D.

By  | 

Gov. Jack Dalrympe, R-N.D., has declared Tuesday, March 29, as Vietnam Veterans Day in North Dakota. A number of the servicemen that fought in wars just like the Vietnam war need medical treatment.

Any veterans in the western portion of the state have to travel hundred of miles to the nearest hospital to get reimbursement treatment through Veterans Affairs, and this new act hopes to change that.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., is sponsoring the bipartisan act with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The act would open more long term care services for veterans.

"Making sure veterans can get care anywhere in local nursing homes. So if they want to stay in their community, stay in their nursing home or get long term health care services in their home and have VA reimbursement pay for it," said Hoeven.

There are only 15 out the possible 80 nursing facilities in the state with the VA contract. The president of the Long Term Care Association in North Dakota says there are a number of difficult issues for the other 65 hospitals to gain the contracts.

"There's a big barrier right now and that barrier is that they're very onus on requirements on contracting with the VA and it makes it very very difficult and so we want to remove that barrier," said
Shelly Peterson, North Dakota Long Term Care Association.

The act was approved by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in December. Hoeven says he hopes to have it on the Senate floor soon.

"I'm very hopeful we will get it done this year. So that means we have to move it through the Senate and then through the House, get the version reconciled and get the president to sign it. I'm confident we can get it done this year," said Hoeven

Nursing facilities in Bismarck and Mandan don't have a contract and this act aims to change that.

Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act would be part of the larger Veterans Choice Improvement Act of 2016 if approved by the House and Senate.