(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), introduced legislation to ensure that State Veterans Homes have access to the resources needed to cover the true cost of care for severely disabled veterans. Currently, many State Homes are being reimbursed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at a rate much lower than the actual cost of skilled nursing care required by veterans with service-connected disabilities rated at 70 percent or greater. This situation threatens the financial viability of State Homes and could lead to gravely disabled veterans losing their access to care.

The legislation introduced today would provide a solution to this problem by ensuring that State Homes receive the applicable or prevailing rate for care, as determined by the VA, based on the rate payable in the geographic area in which the home is located.

The three Washington State Veterans Homes that will be affected by this legislation are listed below:

Washington Soldiers Home in Orting, WA

Washington Veterans Home in Retsil, WA

Spokane Veterans Home in Spokane, WA

“When our service members volunteered to defend our nation, we promised to care for them upon their return – this legislation will help us keep that critical promise,” said Senator Murray. “Disabled veterans depend on State Veterans Homes to receive the care they need. However, without adequate reimbursements, these homes could be forced to close their doors to our disabled veterans. This legislation would prevent that from happening and enable State Homes to provide the skilled nursing these veterans deserve.”

“There is no question Maine Veterans’ Homes are vital to the continuity of care that we owe to our veterans for their service and sacrifice,” said Senator Snowe.  “The commitment and compassion provided to our veterans by MVH, as well as so many other state veterans’ homes dedicated to the care of our veterans, will be strengthened by this legislation which will ensure these facilities have access to the resources they need to provide quality care and service to our hometown heroes.  And, as our patriots in uniform, they deserve nothing less.”  

“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, one of my top priorities is caring for our nation’s veterans who have sacrificed so much,” said Senator Collins. “Because of low reimbursement rates, Maine Veterans Homes and the other State Veterans Homes have struggled to meet the needs of our disabled veterans, in particular.  This bill would help ensure that they have access to quality care and a welcome place to stay at state veterans homes in Maine and throughout the country.”

“The Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington is an excellent example of the quality of care available to those veterans in need of specialized services,” said Senator Sanders. “This legislation will help fulfill the nation’s promise to care for those who have made enormous sacrifices.  We need to provide the necessary resources to make sure these veterans continue to receive the services worthy of their selfless sacrifice to America.”