Title 38 CFR Parts 51 and 58 Page 19,433 is a big irritation!

I need HELP! Veterans need your HELP NOW! My problem is with Title 38 CFR Parts 51 and 58 Page 19,433. One of our honorable members of Congress added an amendment that basically changed the time Veterans can be with family outside of a Federal or State Nursing Home from 96 hours leave period a month to 12 days (24 hr) periods a year trying to make Veterans care more similar to Medicaid. Which is my simple explanation. This change affects all Veterans in all states that are working with the VA system. The problem begins when a family member tries to provide care and transportation to the Veteran. The family member can be charged with a medical visit as a family visit taking time family visits away from the Veteran. The solution is to change this amendment to allow Family transport for any health purpose outpatient or inpation and remove any penalties that would result in less family time.

Why is this a problem? Let’s say the Veteran’s family lives 90 miles or farther from the VA Nursing Home. The Local VA hospital is around 60 miles from the family members home.It is a longer distance to drive from the VA Nursing Home to the VA hospital maybe 90 miles or farther.The patient has an early morning appointment with a doctor or for a procedure at the VA hospital. The patient will need to leave the Nursing Home while the night staff is still on duty in order to get to the appointment. The Veteran requires special medications that are normally given during the time he/or she will be traveling. The present system can leave the patient not getting the medication if transported by the VA Nursing Home and creates a nightmare for the Veteran and the family member. The family member can provide the care, administer medication, and is more than willing to give the care. The family member makes a request to pick up the patient in the evening after the evening meal to allow the patient to rest at home, (the home has full handicap facilities including a hospital bed) then be transported to the VA medical appointment the next morning and return back to the facility the next day. With the current regulations the patient is charged with a family day.
If the patient has several appointments they won’t be home for Christmas. They won’t be able to attend the funeral of a spouse, child, sister, parent because all of their days were consumed trying to make the transport to the VA medical appointment easier on the patient.

Do Medicaid patients have these problems? Normally a Medicaid patient has medical care within the system available locally and near the Nursing Home. The family member can pick them up, stop at a restuarant to eat with them or visit grandchildren in their home for an hour or two on the way back and forth to the medical apointments with no charges against their family visit days. Family has the opportunity to visit often because the Nursing Home is normally close to other family members. VA health care systems do not always locate the Nursing Home patient near family. This is a VA Health care issue and should not be connected with Medicaid regulations

The VA care in rural areas is spread out. Veterans often drive for several hours to a medical appointment. Some of you are concerned about being under Government health care. If you are a civilian that does not have a family member under the Government run, Congress controled, VA health care system better be on your knees giving thanks you don’t have to deal with the mess on a daily basis!

The local VA clinics do cut down on a large amount of driving for many Veterans but those of you outside of the system that think your local Veterans are getting a large amount of services at that clinic don’t know the system. This is not just a Kentucky problem. The Veterans in Nebraska have some of the longest travel times in the nation. This is not a problem one Veteran, one family faces, it is a problem faced across the nation by Veterans living in rural areas.

I have written my member of Congress and he is aware of the problems I have faced. I also need people from across the United States writing to ask that this problem be amended and changed. I can’t get this done alone so I am asking my friends for help! If your member of Congress is on the Veterans Affairs Committee getting the message to that committee will help make the changes faster.