Moran, Rounds offer bill to expand long-term care options for veterans

Bipartisan legislation recently introduced by U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) would require the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to carry out a pilot program to provide assisted living services to eligible United States military veterans.

“As the number of aging veterans continues to increase, the VA needs to be prepared to efficiently and sustainably care for this community,” said Sen. Moran. “Creating a pilot program to develop and assess the effectiveness of assisted living care will help VA proactively prepare for the rapid increase of aging veterans expected over the next two decades.”

The Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long Term Care Act, S. 495, which Sen. Moran and Sen. Rounds cosponsored on Feb. 16 alongside bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), aims to help aging veterans live more independently while saving taxpayer dollars, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers. 

“As our veteran population increases in age, it is crucial they have access to adequate long-term care options,” Sen. Rounds said. “This bipartisan legislation would expand veterans’ access to assisted living services, especially those living in rural areas.” 

If enacted, the pilot program authorized under S. 495 would be conducted at six Veterans Integrated Services Networks nationwide, with at least two program sites located in rural or highly rural areas and two sites at State Veterans Homes, according to the text of the bill.

“We have a responsibility to make sure our veterans receive the care they have earned, and I am pleased to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fulfill that duty,” added Sen. Rounds.

The bill has been endorsed by the National Rural Health Association; a coalition of senior living organizations, including the American Seniors Housing Association, Argentum, LeadingAge, and the National Center for Assisted Living; the National Association of State Veterans Homes; AARP; and the Military Officers Association of America, among others.