ELLY GRIMM

   • Leader & Times

 

The care of senior veterans and veterans with disabilities is of paramount importance and recently, some action was taken to help with just that.

Wednesday, U.S. Senators Jerry Moran and Angus King (I-Maine) – members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee – introduced legislation to better coordinate and manage health care for veterans who receive services through Medicare and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), according to a release from Moran’s office.

“A significant number of veterans over age 65 and veterans who have disabilities are dually enrolled in both Medicare and the VA health care system,” the release noted. “Dual enrollment can lead to challenges with navigating between agencies, and a lack of coordination can result in fragmented and more expensive care. The Coordinating Care for Senior Veterans and Wounded Warriors Act would create a three-year pilot program where veterans who are enrolled in both Medicare and VA health care would be assigned a case manager to help develop individualized care plans and manage the delivery of health care services. This would help eliminate gaps in care and duplication of services, improve quality of care and lower expenses for taxpayers.”

“I hear frequently from veterans and their caregivers who are frustrated by the bureaucracy and red tape they encounter when accessing health care from both VA and Medicare,” Moran noted in the release. “This bill will help senior veterans and those with disabilities, as well as their caregivers and providers, to better understand and navigate the two ways to receive care. I am grateful to my colleague Senator King and our partners in the veteran service organization community for supporting this legislation.”

“Many veterans – especially those who are senior or disabled – rely on both the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Medicare for their health care,” Sen. King noted in the release from Moran’s office. “However, dual enrollment in these services can lead to an inefficient back-and-forth between the services and could cause confusion for veterans trying to understand which program will provide them the best coverage for their various health needs. The bipartisan Coordinating Care for Senior Veterans and Wounded Warriors Act, will create a case manager program to help veterans better understand their options and navigate the best path forward when using the VA and Medicare programs. This is an important step forward in making sure our veterans are able to access the care best suited to their needs without needless hurdles or costs.”

The full text of the bill can be found at https://www.veterans.senate.gov/services/files/40038704-BC21-4D1D-AE3C-842A0064530D.

Other leaders praised the legislation.

"Wounded Warrior Project is pleased to support the Coordinating Care for Senior Veterans and Wounded Warriors Access Act,” Jose Ramos, Vice President for Government and Community Relations for the Wounded Warrior Project, noted in the release from Moran’s office. “Innovative pilot programs like the one envisioned by this bill help us better understand what's possible in our effort to improve the systems of care that support our nation's heroes.  With better case coordination and health care outcomes as the goal, this pilot can help younger veterans who use Medicare earlier in life because of catastrophic injuries from military service. We thank Senators Moran and King for their vision and leadership on this issue and urge Congress to pass this important legislation." 

“One of the greatest challenges we see for veterans and caregivers, especially for those with complex needs, is a lack of care coordination,” Steve Schwab, Chief Executive Officer for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, noted in the release from Moran’s office. “While the VA has many beneficial programs and services, veterans and caregivers often struggle to navigate this complex system of care due to a lack of proper guidance and support. That’s why we are pleased to see the introduction of the Coordinating Care for Veterans and Wounded Warriors Act. This bill advances care coordination efforts for some of the most high-need veterans, maximizing the positive impact of the resources available to them. We thank Senators Moran and King for introducing this meaningful legislation and look forward to continued efforts to improve care coordination services across the VA.”

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