The VDHCBS would be through the Northwest Georgia Area Agency on Aging (AAA)’s contract with the VA.
The program is currently suspended in reference to in-home care programs through the VA.
“38 US code 1720 (C1) does not currently cover home health care. We don’t have final regulations yet to permit provider agreements, and we have to go through regulations and have it signed off. Agreements have been in the works for a while… We don’t know of any progress as of right now,” according to the VA.
The VA initiated talks with the AAA in 2007, but movement has currently been stalled, according to Cara Pellino, Support Options Counselor of the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission/AAA.
“Some people, instead of the more traditional services, like a meal, or three hours of housekeeping a week; they might benefit more from maybe a hand held shower being installed or home modification being made, or maybe their loved one is already under employed or unemployed to stay home with them to care for them,” said Pellino. “This allows them to hire their own staff, including family members, and it allows them to use this service hours more flexibly.”
Currently, the AAA has a community living program (CLP) in place, but restricts participants younger than 60-years-old, and is not strictly for veterans.
The CLP is part of a three-year grant implemented to allot eligible participants $500 a month for services, but the CLP is currently not taking any new participants due to a decrease in funding, according to Pellino.
The CLP has been in the community for two years.
However, the need to service veterans, who are a lot of times younger than 60 when coming home from wars, proved to be an urgent necessity.
“Because they’re seeing that so many of the vets that are coming back, they’re coming back with traumatic brain injury, and severe disabilities,” said Pellino. “Many times these soldiers coming back are young, but this would be for any veteran who has served in any war prior to the current situation, and this gives them the option to stay in their homes versus going to a nursing home.”
Pellino shares a story involving a young veteran who returned home, wounded from battle.
“One soldier that came home from Iraq had a traumatic brain injury and was an avid biker. Because of the traumatic brain injury he could still ride a bike, but he got lost when he went outside of his immediate neighborhood,” said Pellino, “and that’s why he needed someone to bike with him and this program allowed him to hire someone who could bike with him. So we are looking at servicing people in the way that best suits their individual needs instead of giving a blanket of pre-ordered services,” he said.
The AAA is set to go, but lacks signatures from the Department of Veterans Affairs to proceed with implementation of the program.
The pilot program plans to send eligible participants to the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Hospital in Atlanta for screening and to conduct interview processes to determine the monthly allotment, determined by each individuals physical needs.
“They would be screened for eligibility through the Atlanta VA and then the Atlanta VA would refer them to the [Northwest Georgia] AAA, and then we would go out and meet with them and discuss what their budget is going to look like and how they would like to spend their money to access services every month,” said Pellino. “It hasn’t been completely determined yet, but the VA is looking at three different tiers of service. I believe the least amount, and this is an estimation, we are looking at $1,500 to $3,000 a month, depending on that persons needs,” she said.
To find out more information about the VDHCBS, contact Cara Pellino at 706-295-6348 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org