New York, NY - May 24, 2017 - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) announced today that his bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1005) to help severely disabled veterans on Long Island and across the country, by expanding access to Adult Day Health Care for disabled veterans who need extra assistance and special attention in their day to day lives, passed the House of Representatives today unanimously with strong bipartisan support. Prior to the House vote, Congressman Zeldin spoke in support of his bill on the House floor.
Service members who are 70% or more disabled from a service connected injury often require significant assistance from others in order to carry out basic everyday tasks. Many times, the burden falls on family members of disabled veterans; some veterans may even need to reside in institutionalized facilities to receive the daily assistance of a trained medical professional. Both of these options can create financial and emotional hardships. One program that is currently available to help disabled veterans is Adult Day Health Care, which can be offered at State Veterans Homes across the United States. However, the expense of the program is oftentimes directly shouldered by the veteran and their family, which significantly limits the number of veterans who can enroll. The program is also only currently offered at three facilities in the United States; one being the Long Island State Veterans Home, which is located in the First Congressional District of New York, in Stony Brook. Congressman Zeldin’s bill would define the Adult Day Health Care program as a reimbursable treatment option through the Department of Veterans Affairs, which would guarantee that all severely disabled veterans, those who are 70% or more service connected disabled, are able to access Adult Day Health Care at no cost to them. The bill would also help expand the program, which could be offered at any of the 153 State Veterans Homes (SVH) across the country.
Congressman Zeldin said, “This is an important piece of legislation that provides a valuable and necessary service to our nation’s veterans, and I am pleased to announce that this bill passed the House of Representatives today. By expanding access to Adult Day Health Care programs, we can ensure that all veterans receive the best and most efficient outpatient services that provide each veteran with the assistance and special attention they need, while still allowing them to maintain their independence. With House passage of this bill, we are now one step closer to expanding care for disabled veterans on Long Island and across our country, allowing each veteran to lead a much more fulfilling life, while keeping families together and strong. Expanding Adult Day Health Care for our disabled veterans is a top priority. I encourage the Senate to act quickly and pass this commonsense bill.”
Fred Sganga, Director of the Long Island State Veterans Home, said, “We are grateful to Congressman Lee Zeldin for his ongoing efforts to care for veterans both locally and nationally. H.R. 1005 will enable veterans to receive the essential services they deserve, while still being able to reside in their own homes. This legislation helps to restore a veteran's freedom to remain an active member of their community even after succumbing to the perils of military service. Congressman Zeldin never forgets the sacrifice of brave women and men who donned the uniform to protect the freedoms we all enjoy today.”
"The dedicated staff and professionals that run the Adult Day Health Care program at the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University are making a real difference in the quality of life by providing this important option to Long Island's disabled veterans and their families," said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD. "I commend Congressman Zeldin for his passionate approach, through this bill, to supporting our veterans in their time of need, by making this program more affordable and available on a national scale."
H.R. 1005 has received strong bipartisan support, with 50 cosponsors in the House. The bill has also received support from various Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs), including the American Legion, AMVETS and Disabled American Veterans (DAV).