October 26, 2023

What They Are Saying: Organizations Urge House Passage of Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act

Press Contact

Libby Carlson

WASHINGTON, DC – Over the summer, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs unanimously passed Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26)’s Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act (H.R. 542) out of Committee. It is currently awaiting a vote on the House floor.  

The Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act would expand VA’s Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) to all Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers (VAMC), ensuring that veterans who need home care are able to receive it and avoid costly nursing home care. It will also make improvements in VA’s care coordination and outreach, to better connect veterans and their caregivers with critical services and supports. 

This bicameral and bipartisan bill represents some of the excellent work we can do on behalf of veterans when we work together and find common ground. It will expand access to a variety of VA programs for elderly and disabled veterans, enabling them to remain at home, safely age in place, and avoid or delay admission to nursing homes and other costly institutional settings of care,” said Ranking Member Mark Takano. “It is time for the House to vote on H.R. 542, this landmark legislation championed by our Health Subcommittee Ranking Member, Julia Brownley. Time is of the essence for veterans and their caregivers.” 

Subcommittee on Health Ranking Member Brownley said, “This important legislation will make the necessary and systematic improvements needed to ensure aging and disabled veterans and their caregivers receive the care and support they have earned to thrive. My bill directly addresses the need for improved home care by expanding existing home-and community-based services so that we can delay, if not prevent, a veteran from needing institutional care which is costly and often isolating. When we support veterans staying in their homes, it means families can stay together, caregivers have the support they need, and veterans remain connected to their communities. This is common-sense, bipartisan legislation – and, most importantly, it is the right thing to do for our aging and disabled veterans.”

Ranking Member Brownley continued, “I am committed to continue working with my colleagues to ensure that the bill makes its way to President Biden’s desk, and we need a floor vote on the Elizabeth Dole Act now. Our veterans and their caregivers need Congress to act now. Our veterans deserve no less.”

Read what Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) and others are saying about this groundbreaking bill below. 

Steve Schwab, Elizabeth Dole Foundation: “Every day at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, we hear from veterans and caregivers about their desire to remain at home through illness, injury and aging. Too often, veterans go to institutional care settings due to a lack of cost-effective home care options and support for their caregivers. The Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act will provide essential access to home- and community- based services and care coordination tools for veterans and caregivers, no matter where they live. We strongly urge Congress to pass this bipartisan, comprehensive legislation. Veterans and their caregivers simply cannot wait any longer." 

Heather Ansley, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA): "Most veterans with spinal cord injuries or disorders would prefer to receive care in their homes where they can maintain an independent life and remain engaged in their communities. Passage of the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act would expand the availability of VA's Home and Community Based Services, allowing greater numbers of veterans to do that." 

Joy Ilem, Disabled American Veterans (DAV): “In order to meet the exploding demand for long-term care for veterans in the years ahead, Congress must provide the resources for the Department of Veterans Affairs to significantly expand home- and community-based programs, while also modernizing and expanding facilities that provide institutional care. Unfortunately, funding for home- and community-based services in recent years has not kept pace with population growth, demand for services or inflation... DAV applauds Reps. Brownley and Bergman for their leadership in introducing this important bipartisan legislation that will improve the VA’s program of long-term services and supports and increase timely access to both institutional and non-institutional long-term services for veterans and their caregivers.” 

Meggan Thomas, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW): “As life expectancy continues to increase, so must life quality, and for many veterans that means having home health care as a choice. Ensuring veterans have an option to long-term care has been a priority of the VFW, which is why we support the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act. This bill would create several programs that support veterans and their caregivers. Every veteran should be able to choose to receive care and assistance with daily activities while remaining to live at home.” 

Bill Sweeney, AARP: “After their service, hard work, and contributions to our society, America’s veterans deserve to live with independence, security, and dignity. AARP is fighting for individuals to have high-quality, affordable options when it comes to home- and community-based services (HCBS). In a recent AARP survey, three-fourths of adults aged 50-plus told us they wish to remain in their current homes for as long as possible. To make this possibility a reality, many rely on family caregivers, who are the backbone of the care system in this country... These uncompensated hidden heroes provide an estimated $14 billion in service for wounded warriors each year. They need and deserve our support.” 

Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, USAF (Ret), Military Officers Association of America (MOAA): “Efforts are mounting in VA to get out in front of the rising demand for care from veterans who seek care in their home or in smaller group settings. MOAA is pleased to lend our support for the bill. This comprehensive legislation is timely and will help supplement VA’s current efforts to expand support services to veterans and their caregivers more rapidly and effectively. MOAA urges Congress to fund and pass this legislation as soon as possible.”  

Jose Ramos, Wounded Warrior Project: “As our country’s post-9/11 veterans are beginning to use the Department of Veterans Affairs non-institutional care programs at increasing rates as they age, the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act comes at a critical time. This legislation would be an important step towards creating more options for a younger generation of wounded warriors who would prefer to receive care at home rather than in a nursing home. The Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act would honor the service of these veterans as well as their caregivers, and Wounded Warrior Project is proud to offer its support.” 

Shawn N. Bloom, National PACE Association (NPA): “This timely, critically needed bill will enable many more of our nation’s veterans to age in place with the care and services they need as well as support their family caregivers... NPA strongly supports the urgently needed policy changes contained in the Act, including requiring Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs) located within the geographic service areas of local Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) to establish partnerships with them. This provision not only will ensure all care and services received by veterans currently enrolled in PACE will be well coordinated with their local VAMCs, but also facilitate substantial increases in the number of veterans and their caregivers benefitting from the innovative PACE model of care.” 

Matthew Chase, National Association of Counties: “While county governments provide a wide range of services for veterans and their families, we know that more must be done for the military and veteran caregivers who often fall through the cracks of these supports...Caregivers selflessly take on their responsibilities often without any resources or guidance....The Elizabeth Dole Act would provide critical federal resources to give accessible tools to military caregivers to assess needs and improve the delivery of care through the user-friendly resource center and expansion of VA Home-Based Community Services, including raising the cap on how much VA can pay for the cost of home care from 65 percent to 100 percent, establishing a pilot project to address home health aide shortages and providing respite care to caregivers of veterans enrolled in home care programs. Our country’s veterans and their families have paid a deep sacrifice and deserve a more robust and transparent service delivery system.”