Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Congress Screws VA

A little known program in the Veterans Administration is the Home Health Aide Services, or (HHA). This program is designed to keep aging Veterans out of more expensive Assisted Living facilities or Nursing homes.

Those veterans that live alone, have no care giver, are eligible for up to sixteen hours of home care that includes light house cleaning, bathing, meal cooking, laundry, etc.

I applied for this service and was sent a brochure outlining these benefits.The only requirement is that the veteran's health provider must recommend the vet and approve of the need. He did.

I then waited a month hearing from nobody. I called the Social Work Services at the Spokane, Washington VAMC. The person that I talked to said they were over capacity for the program. This didn't make any sense, due to the program outsourcing these services.

Finally I got a call back from the person in charge of that service. Joseph (509-434-7558). It seems the congress underfunded the program severely. While many are eligible, currently, 80 Vets including yours truly, are on a waiting list in just the Spokane region. Apparently someone on the program has to die for there to be an opening. I'm told one such person has been on the list for a year.

This program which guarantees home health care, is broke. Congress must pass an appropriation to reestablish the fund. If 80 are waiting just in Spokane, one wonders how many more around the country are in the same boat.

I contacted Congressman Raul Labrador's Meridian, Idaho office (208-888-3188) which was not aware of the problem. But they are now and will be lobbying for a cure. It wouldn't hurt to call your congress person to complain bout the problem and attempt to get enough members of congress interested and aware of this gap in benefits.

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