Changes to Veterans Benefits
On June 6, 2018, the VA Mission Act of 2018 was signed into law by the President. The purpose of the legislation is to expand long-term care and post-acute care (LT/PAC) options for veterans. The VA Mission Act of 2018 is intended to address the issues of providers under Medicare Parts A and B or Medicaid providers, who are not federal contractors. Current providers with VA patients are considered to be federal contractors and, as such, have to comply with regulations in the Service Contract Act which is much more complex than those required by either Medicare and Medicaid regulations.
Among the chief complaints about VA healthcare are involved timely scheduling of appointments, care and services. Under the VA Mission Act, the Department of Veterans Affairs is required to coordinate timely care including help for those who need VA medical services outside their region of residence. The VA is in charge of making sure veterans do not experience a lapse in health care services. The idea is to eliminate red tape and legal issues to ensure that there are more LT/PAC options like nursing home care, home and community-based care/services available to providers and veterans that meet Medicare and Medicaid compliance.
Another provision of the law includes increasing access to long-term care options for veterans in their home communities. The Department of Veterans Affairs is now required to provide, access to community care if the VA does not offer the care or services the veteran requires, if VA does not operate a full-service medical facility in the state a veteran resides, the veteran was eligible for care in the community under the 40-mile rule in the Veterans Choice Program and when the veteran meets certain requirements.
The VA is required to enter into contracts with private networks to insure veterans get this care when warranted. Care-related services through the VA will also be streamlined to ensure that currently enrolled vets who have accessed the VA healthcare system in the last two years will automatically gain access to community clinics.
Caregiver benefits are also going be expanded to include all veterans regardless of when they served their country. Previously, these benefits only applied to post 9/11 veterans.