05/02/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/02/2019 11:11
WASHINGTON - At a hearing of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven continued his efforts with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie to:
'We're working with Secretary Wilkie to ensure our long-term care legislation is implemented in a way that provides one set of standards for LTC providers, whether they are seeking reimbursement from the VA or CMS, which will help reduce regulatory burdens and allow more facilities to accept veteran patients,' Hoeven said. 'At the same time, we are trying to bolster the VA's suicide prevention and mental health treatment programs. We've heard from veterans who believe that hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been helpful in treating their PTSD. While the VA has a demonstration program for HBOT, this service remains out of reach for many veterans in our region. That's why one of my primary goals for the Secretary's visit is to include a North Dakota HBOT facility in the VA's demonstration program.'
LTC Provider Agreement Implementation
Key provisions of Hoeven's legislation, the Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act, were signed into law last year as part of the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act. This law allows the VA to enter into Veterans Care Agreements (VCAs) with qualified LTC providers, including nursing homes.
The VA is expected to roll out proposed regulations under the senator's legislation later this year. Hoeven is working to ensure the new VCA's remove the existing duplicative layers of review for LTC providers and match the standards under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Aligning with CMS rules would provide relief from expensive federal contracting requirements and enable more long-term care providers to accept veteran patients.
HBOT & Suicide Prevention
The VA has stated that its top clinical priority is suicide prevention. As part of his efforts to improve the VA's mental health care programs, Hoeven is encouraging the VA to expand access to alternative treatment options, like HBOT, for veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI) who have yet to experience positive outcomes.