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AHCA Echoes Support for Veterans Access Bill  
AHCA Echoes Support for Veterans Access Bill
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Washington, D.C. — The American Health Care Association (AHCA) today threw its support behind a measure expanding veterans’ access to skilled nursing and other critical health care options. The bipartisan bill was being deliberated today by the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health, and promises to help thousands of veterans across the US.
“We are committed to developing and advocating for public policies which balance economic and regulatory principles to support quality of care and quality of life for veterans,” said Mark Parkinson, AHCA President and CEO, in written testimony prepared for the legislative hearing.
The Veterans Access to Extended Care Act provides the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with legislative authority to enter into Provider Agreements without the burdens of following complex federal contractor agreements under the Services Contract Act (SCA). When providers are able to enter into Provider Agreements, the number of providers serving veterans will increase in most markets, expanding the options among veterans for nursing center care and home and community-based services. The bipartisan bill (HR 1369/S.739) was introduced by Representative Jackie Walorski (R-IN, 2nd), Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI, 2nd), Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).
One of the lead champions on the legislation, Rep. Jackie Walorski, testified during the hearing that incentivizing more local providers to work with the VA will increase access to care that is closer to home therefore allowing nearby family and friends to provide additional support structures to our veterans. “These individuals have sacrificed so much in the name of liberty; they should not have to worry about being unable to find care close to home because their hometown providers do not have the resources necessary to qualify as a government contractor,” testified Rep. Walorski.  
"Veterans in need of health care services should be able to access those services near where they live," said Frank Romano, a skilled nursing provider and Vietnam combat veteran serving in country from 1968-1969. Mr. Romano is President of Essex Group Management, a family-owned provider of skilled nursing, assisted living, adult day health and home care services for veterans in Massachusetts.