The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Health, held a hearing on July 9, 2013, to review pending legislation involving the delivery of VA health care services to veterans. Panelists who provided testimony included veterans service organizations, Members of Congress who introduced the legislation, and the VA’s Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health, with the Veterans Health Administration. Paralyzed Veterans of America provided a statement for the record.
A total of five bills were discussed during the hearing. The “Long-term Care Veterans Choice Act,” was the first bill reviewed by the Subcommittee, and proposes to authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to enter into contracts or agreements for the transfer of veterans to non-VA adult foster homes for certain veterans who are unable to live independently. Paralyzed Veterans supported this legislation as it increased veterans’ long-term care options. We further explained to the Subcommittee that it is Paralyzed Veterans' position that veterans must choose to relocate to an adult foster home from a VA nursing home, and such facilities are only appropriate for disabled veterans who do not require regular monitoring by licensed providers, but rather have a catastrophic injury or disability and are able to sustain a high level of independence.
Paralyzed Veterans also supported H.R. 1702, the “Veterans Transportation Service Act.” If enacted, this bill would authorize VA to transport individuals to and from VA facilities when it is in connection with rehabilitation, counseling, examination treatment, and care. This legislation will assist veterans with transportation assistance when seeking medical care. Too often the lack of accessible transportation is a barrier to catastrophically disabled veterans’ access to medical care. Therefore, Paralyzed Veterans implored the subcommittee to ensure that accessible transportation for disabled veterans, specifically veterans who have incurred a spinal cord injury or disorder, or veterans who use a wheelchair, would be available as needed.
Paralyzed Veterans did not take positions on the remainder of the bills reviewed during the hearing. Paralyzed Veterans is working with the Subcommittee on these pieces of legislation to make certain that the needs of Paralyzed Veterans members, and disabled veterans, are taken into consideration.
Learn more about the work of Paralyzed Veterans of America on Capitol Hill