Pittman introduces legislation for Veterans' Home
Topeka, Kans. -- Representative Jeff Pittman of Leavenworth introduced two bills today to allow the state to build a much-needed, new long-term care facility for veterans in Northeast Kansas.
The first bill focuses on placing Kansas on the Veterans Administration (VA) cost-share list for a new veteran’s home specifically in Northeast Kansas.
The second bill works in tandem with the first, to direct bonding to effectively allocate the state’s share and raise Kansas as a top priority on the VA cost share list.
Building a new veterans’ home is one of the top priorities for the Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), like Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion. While many have discussed the concept, little has been done in recent years to make this happen.
The first step is getting Kansas on the VA cost-share list, which these bills will do if passed. Currently, Kansas has just two veterans’ homes, located in Ft. Dodge and Winfield. The Winfield facility was constructed in the 1940s, and Ft. Dodge is a collection of buildings that have grown old -- ten dilapidated cottage style homes were demolished just last year. Surrounding states offer access to more homes and facilities. Studies have shown the concentration of veterans has shifted.
“Veterans deserve better treatment,” Pittman said. “A majority of our state’s elderly veterans live in the Northeast region of the state. We have VA facilities in Topeka and Leavenworth. It just makes sense to take advantage of the VA cost-share program and at least start the process to have a purpose-built modern facility with all the personnel efficiencies that brings.”
The director of Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs estimated in a hearing last week that many of the ongoing costs would pay for themselves due to reimbursement programs from Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA.
“We’ve fallen behind our neighboring states in offering this service,” continued Rep. Pittman. “Taking care of our veterans is a bipartisan issue, and should be a priority for all of us.”
The bills have bipartisan support among the membership of the House Veteran & Military Affairs Committee.