For some veterans, the challenges in receiving adequate care and support are sometimes long. News stories have surfaced through the past several years highlighting the struggles some of these men and women face just trying to get proper medical care and even support at home.
For one veteran in Oregon, the trouble wasn’t that the VA refused to provide support coverage for in home care, but that due to the way their programs and resources are set up, this veteran had been notified that the services would cease, simply because the contractor that was responsible for placing caregivers with him could no longer find those who were in contract with the VA’s medical facility in Roseburg.
Many of the challenges veterans are facing in accessing direct care involve systems designed at the bureaucratic level, rather than an individual level. This veteran was caught in a system that requires home care providers or agencies to be ‘contracted’ with the VA, which means they go through an approval process. Since there was a limited pool of caregivers from which to choose, when there were no others under contract, the nearly automatic cessation of services ensued.
However, Michael Williamson has Lou Gehrig’s Disease and needed the in-home care support. A lawsuit followed, but one that has found a reasonable solution for him.
As noted by The Columbian in its news blog, VA Oks home health care for Oregon vet, written by Maxine Bernstein:
“Williamson, an Air Force veteran, sued the federal agency on Jan. 23 in U.S. District Court in Eugene after a VA contract company notified him that his home health care of nearly 17 years would halt on Feb. 13 because it couldn’t find caregivers, according to the suit. The company, New Horizons, contracts with the VA’s medical facility in Roseburg.
Seven days later, the Department of Veteran Affairs reached an agreement with New Horizons to extend care for another 60 days, Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian Brown wrote in a court document.
Officials at Roseburg VA Health Care System told Williamson that they had no other approved care-giving agencies in the area and that he would have to move to a nursing home in San Francisco, Boise or Washington’s Puget Sound, according to the suit.”
The VA stepped up to meet the veteran’s needs following this lawsuit, but it begs the question about how many others may be suffering because they didn’t know where to turn or how to push back.