Bill would ensure Maine Veterans Homes continue today and tomorrow
To the Editor;
I’m writing today as a veteran and past board member and chairperson of Maine Veterans’ Homes to urge our state legislators to sustainably fund the six MVH homes which Maine veterans and their families call “home.”
About a year ago, MVH faced the difficult decision of closing two homes, due to severe, long-standing and seemingly insurmountable economic hardships that so many nursing homes in Maine face. MVH is not alone here but its mission and therefore its cost of operating are atypical. Where many long-term care facilities are struggling today, MVH faces additional challenges and costs because it only serves veterans and families — and as a result must follow more stringent regulations from the Veterans Administration.
In response, Maine’s leaders enacted legislation last year, which voiced the state’s moral obligation to provide long-term care to veterans and required the formation of a stakeholder group to determine how to meet it. One of the key recommendations from the group was that the Legislature ensure that MVH has the financial resources it needs to continue providing award-winning care.
LD 985 is in the Legislature now awaiting review by the Appropriations Committee. This bill would secure $3.4 million in state funding that would in turn trigger nearly $6.9 million in federal funding all to close a $10.3 million gap between MaineCare reimbursement rates and the cost of providing care to MVH residents who rely on MaineCare as a payment source. This funding is absolutely critical for MVH to continue its mission of caring for Maine’s veterans and their families.
Funding MVH honors the commitment Maine owes its veterans. The quality of care MVH provides is renowned outside of Maine as the best in the nation and is a system of care worth preserving. The funding outlined in LD 985 achieves this goal and makes sure that MVH will continue to be a home for Maine’s veterans today and tomorrow.