04 June 2009

HHS and VA to Develop a Nationwide Program to Help Older Americans and Veterans with Disabilities Remain Independent in the Community

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki today announced a landmark collaboration to help the families of older Americans and Veterans with disabilities of all ages care for their loved ones in the community. This partnership builds on the similar missions of HHS and the VA with regard to caring for the populations they serve and has as its ultimate goal a nationwide home and community-based long-term-care support program to serve older
Americans and veterans of all ages.

"This HHS-VA initiative combines the hands-on experience and skills of HHS' national network of aging and community-based organizations with the commitment and resources of VA's Veterans Health Administration to provide more people, including our nation's veterans with additional opportunities to remain independent," said HHS Secretary Sebelius. "Through this collaboration, many adults and veterans who would have previously been placed in nursing homes will be able to remain with their loved ones. This is another significant way America can recognize and care for the individuals who have cared for us."

HHS and VA are making $10 million in funding available to bring this initiative to 20 states. This partnership will implement the Veteran Directed Home & Community Based Service (VDHCBS) program through HHS' aging and human services network, in coordination with the
Administration on Aging's (AoA) Community Living Program (CLP) which helps the family caregivers of individuals with ongoing need to keep their loved ones at home. Both programs allow participants to direct their own care, including having control over the types of services they receive and the manner in which they are provided. This includes the option of hiring their neighbors, friends and even some family members, to provide needed services.

"This collaboration provides an opportunity to serve our nation's veterans by offering more long-term care, more choices and control over decisions, and by helping veterans to remain in their homes, supported by family and community," said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

HHS' national network of aging and community based organizations will work in close collaboration with the VA Medical Centers across the country to continue to develop and expand VDHCBS for veterans. The CLP, led by AoA, will help states and communities to assist individuals who are at risk of nursing home placement but who are not Medicaid eligible
to remain at home.

Eligible applicants are State Units on Aging. The closing date for the CLP application is Monday, Aug. 3, 2009. The deadline for submission of a letter of intent is Wednesday, July 1, 2009. Letters should be submitted to Joseph Lugo, by e-mail: joseph.lugo@aoa.hhs.gov or call
(202) 357-3417.

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