Camarillo, CA – Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee, today led a Congressional hearing in Camarillo to discuss VA’s long-term care services.
Brownley was joined by Subcommittee Chairman Neal Dunn (R-FL) and expert witnesses, including:
- Teresa Boyd – Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Clinical Operations, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Katy Krul – Acting Executive Director, Oxnard Family Circle
- Thomas Martin – Assistant Deputy Secretary, Veterans Homes, CalVet
- Mike McManus – Veterans Service Officer, County of Ventura
The hearing, titled “The State of VA’s Long-term Care Services: What’s Working, What’s Not, and How We Can Best Serve Our Aging Heroes,” explored VA-related services including community living centers, state veterans homes, medical foster care, adult day care, and the Caregiver program.
“As Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee, I called for this hearing to shine a spotlight on long-term care issues to ensure that VA’s services are meeting our veterans’ specific needs,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “Overall, Americans are living longer so we must be prepared for how to care for them, and this is especially important at the VA, as more than 12 million veterans across the country are over age 65. Today’s hearing gave us a lot of insight into what is working and what is not. There are a number of important programs within VA that are meant to support its aging veterans and those with disabilities. However, it is unclear that both VA employees and veterans are fully aware of these programs, their eligibility requirements, or how they interact with programs outside of the VA. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that the VA is providing the quality care and options necessary for our veterans to age gracefully and with dignity and that our veterans are aware of the options available to them.”
“Oxnard Family Circle Adult Day Healthcare is a medical model day program that provides care for Veterans in our community. … Many of the spouses or other family members of our Veterans are overwhelmed with the day-to-day responsibility of caring for the Veteran. We find that the caregivers are at risk of experiencing a decline in their physical and mental health conditions. Our program is the resource for vital respite care for many families as it offers day-long extended services for 5 days per week,” said Krul in her written testimony.
“We are in the leading edge of a massive shift in the veteran population demographic. Veterans’ healthcare needs and preferences are evolving, and their service providers must anticipate and adapt to those changes. CalVet will continue to collaborate with the VA and with industry leaders to ensure veterans receive the full spectrum of care that they earned in service of their country,” said Martin in his written testimony.
“VA’s various long-term care programs provide a continuum of services for older Veterans designed to meet needs as they change over time. Together, they have significantly improved the care and well-being of our Veterans. These gains would not have been possible without consistent Congressional commitment in the form of both attention and financial resources,” said Boyd in her written testimony.
“Ventura County has over 40,000 veterans, thousands more National Guard, Air National Guard, and Reserve personnel who may over time be eligible for VA long term care. Approximately 22,000 Ventura County veterans served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam and range in age from 65 up. In addition to the typical ailments of aging, over 4,100 of these veterans also have chronic injuries from military service. In essence you have tens of thousands of veterans in Ventura County and many of these will need some form of long term care. I feel there is a large unmet need in the community due to misperceptions by veterans and lack of information from the VA,” said McManus in his written testimony.
A video recording of the hearing is available here.