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Bill would expand veterans' access to skilled nursing

April 23, 2015
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health deliberated today about a bipartisan bill that would expand veterans’ access to skilled nursing and other healthcare options.

Under the Veterans Access to Extended Care Act, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would have the authority to enter into provider agreements without following federal contractor agreements required under the Services Contract Act. The change is expected to increase options.

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) testified that it supports the measure. “We are committed to developing and advocating for public policies which balance economic and regulatory principles to support quality of care and quality of life for veterans,” Mark Parkinson, AHCA president and CEO, said in written testimony prepared for the legislative hearing.

The bill, also known as H.R. 1369 and S. 739, was introduced by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). Walorski testified that incentivizing more local providers to work with the VA would increase access to care that is closer to home, thereby allowing nearby family and friends of veterans to provide additional support structures to them.