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Veteran speaks out against home healthcare program losing funds

11-8 P-DORN VA SERVICESThumbnail

Changes are coming for veterans who depend on home healthcare. The Veterans Directed Care Program is funded by a nearly two million dollar grant and managed by the Lt. Governor's Office on Aging.

But David Omura, director of the Dorn Veteran Affair's Medical Center, says they haven't been able to track all of those dollars.

"We both decided that we weren't able to look at documentation, so we're not able to determine care each vet is receiving. We're also not able to see if that care is rendered daily. We brought that under our umbrella," says Omura.

The program allows veterans to receive up to 40 hours of care per week. But Omura says the problem is that veterans and their families' spending isn't lining up with what the V.A. intended.

"It is not meant to be money to support the veteran and their family to bring them to an appointment, visit a friend, just to sit with them as a sitter. It's for skilled intervention and that's the big change to the program," says Omura.

As a result, only 30 hours of care will be provided per week. Kristi Driggers, an army veteran who was diagnosed with A.L.S. and is now wheelchair bound, says it takes her twice as long to get ready in the mornings.

Omura says defunding of the program is a move in the right direction because the V.A. will ensure veterans are receiving exactly what they need. But Driggers wants the V.A. to consider an alternative before the program funding ends.

"Phase the program out. You don't have to jerk it immediately from everybody. The people on the program now, let them keep it. Let the others pass along. Then it's phased out," says Driggers.

Funding for the program will end November 30.

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