How U.S. Veterans Can Access Their Home Care Benefits
You’ve served your country, made difficult decisions and sacrifices, and put other people before yourself. As a U.S. veteran, you deserve a break as a thank you. It’s one reason the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was created: to make life a little more secure and stress-free with healthcare benefits, pension options, and more. You’re entitled to access all of their services, and when they don’t offer something ‘in-house’, they will also connect you to their credentialed local suppliers.
One area where VA really shines is uniting veterans with carefully-screened and licensed care providers. Through the new Community Care Network (CCN), eligible veterans can get access to home care, emergency care, and hospice care. It means you’ll have more options for care, and more accessibility.
Who is eligible for the Veterans home care program?
You’ll need to get VA approval before moving forward with the CCN to make sure you aren’t billed for the services. Veterans need to meet at least one of the following criteria to be eligible:
- If you need services a VA medical facility doesn’t provide in-house.
- If there is no full-service VA medical facility in your state or territory.
- If you’ve been grandfathered in through the Veterans Choice Program for distance eligibility.
- If VA can’t provide care within certain designated access standards (driving time/wait time).
- If community care is in your best medical interest (such as access to a particular specialist).
- If a VA service line isn’t meeting your quality standards.
How do I know I can trust VA’s care providers?
While at first it might sound like VA is ‘referring’ you to an external provider, it’s not actually a third-party referral. The Community Care Network consists of VA affiliates who must all go through a rigorous screening process in order to join and maintain their status in the program.
Here are a few facts to help put you at ease:
- Community providers need to opt in to the network, so VA will connect you to those who are actively focusing on veteran care.
- Each VA-approved provider signs a Veterans Care Agreement, and must be recertified every year.
- VA has access to top-tier technology and systems to help keep participating service providers organized and efficient. They also use data analysis to identify the highest-performing providers.
- VA prohibits anyone listed in the ‘List of Excluded Individuals/Entities’ from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General – and similar databases – from joining the network. This means individuals or entities who are excluded from federally funded healthcare programs (for example, due to fraud convictions or similar transgressions) are automatically denied.
- VA manages customer service for veterans, so you’ll still be dealing with your local VA representative while they match you with the best provider for your needs.
How will VA help me access home care?
As the new Community Care Network rolls out across the U.S., Nurse Next Door franchises have started to join the referral community. We’re already serving veterans in Texas (Dallas, Fort Worth) and California (Elk Grove), and building relationships with local VA programs in other regions.
Heather and Robert Green, Nurse Next Door Franchise Partners in Dallas, are proud members of the CCN. “The Dallas VA Medical Center Community Home Care nurses and social workers have all been very helpful,” says Green, “right from the beginning when I navigated through the approval vendor process, down to helping get current private clients set up with the local VA. We all have the same mindset that these men and women served and fought for us, so we need to fight and advocate for their care.”
As a VA client, you’re assigned a social worker who is responsible for matching you with a provider, overseeing your care plan, and advocating for more services if need be. If you need home health care (considered an extended care service), you would ask your VA physician or social worker about accessing these services. “The VA physician will need to do an assessment for home care,” says Green. “The request is then sent to the Community Home Care department at the local VA medical center.”
Can VA match me with Nurse Next Door for home care services?
Home care is perfect for veterans who have limited access to services, for example, “if you are homebound, chronically ill or disabled, don’t have transportation to your local VA facility, or live too far away from one.”
Your local Nurse Next Door location may be working with your local VA and home care may be covered by your benefits. Please reach out to us for more information!