The Department of Veterans Affairs had initially announced that cuts would be rolling out on July 1, 2017 to home health care services, but has delayed those cuts indefinitely, possibly due to increased pressure from families and advocates for the aged and disabled veterans who rely on these services.
The initial cuts could be trimmed the number of allowable home care hours a veteran could rely on from 30 to just six per week. The VA announced through a spokesperson that they would be reassessing the program and focusing on possibly reviewing services on a case by case basis.
As reported by Sheldon Ingram, writing for Pittsburgh Action News 4 in the article, Veterans Affairs says cuts to home health aide services will be delayed:
“Specifically, we want to ensure that changes are reasonable and cause no undue burden on a veteran and his or her caregivers, and that sufficient time is available for any other arrangements that need to be made. The health and well-being of our veterans is our most important priority, and we will take any steps necessary to make transitions smooth,” the Veterans Administration said in a statement.
At this time, there is no current timetable as to when the roll-out of cuts could now come.
The VA is currently in the process of reaching out to the veterans affected and communicating that hours are not being decreased or discontinued immediately.”
Currently, in the Greater Pittsburgh Area alone, there are an estimated 1,200 veterans who are relying on some level of support through home care services and who would likely be directly impacted by such changes. Many of these men and women get support for basic activities of daily living which include bathing, preparing meals, and getting dressed in the morning.
At the moment, there is no word from the VA regarding when these cuts could actually begin rolling out. There are some programs available to veterans who qualify, need home care support, and are financially unable to pay for a home health care provider. Two of these programs are the Aid and Attendance Benefit and Homebound pensions.
The VA claims it reached out to those veterans who would have been affected by this change in policy to inform them that the cutback will not be occurring at this time. There was no word on when these reduction in support hours would be implemented at this time.