Chairman Takano Meets with DAV Executive Director Randy Reese to Discuss Caregiver Benefits, VA Staffing
Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)
Miguel R. Salazar
RIVERSIDE, CA – Last week, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) spoke with Randy Reese, Executive Director of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), to discuss how their members are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about caregiver benefits and VA staffing. See the full conversation with the Disabled American Veterans here.
Watch the full conversation here.
"Thankfully I’m hearing that VA has been doing outreach on mental health, and I am proud of the fact that they’ve been really proactive at the long term community living centers where we have inpatient care—many of whom are your members,” said Chairman Mark Takano. “Here we have an opportunity to hire quality people at VA--and I want to make sure that we put in place the policies that make these people want to stay, make it a career at VA, and that we don’t stop at 10,000 new hires. But we have to have the same mindset for our veterans at home as we do for our community living centers. That means we need to raise the aid and attendance allowances so your members are able to hire and contract out to caregivers. This issue predated the pandemic but you need to have adequate resources to be able to contract out to people to take care of your members. Thank you and all your staff for what you do on behalf of veterans. It’s an honor to work with you all.”
“Thank you Chairman Takano. Mental health is probably at the pinnacle of concerns for both PVA and our DAV members. You know mental health has a significance within the veterans population on any given day but then you add the constraints of being isolated, financial distress-- it really wears hope down very quickly. There’s lot of need out there,” said DAV Executive Director Randy Reese. “When we talk about mental healthcare, we need more staff. And women veterans need not only more staff, but talented staff that have the skillset to take care of our women veteran cohort. VA is the caretaker for all the veterans-- and our members are some of the most vulnerable. They all have serious, underlying chronic health conditions-- almost the equivalent being in the nursing home for every one of their houses. The next step is that everyone getting those community care resources are retracted back in and everyone getting the home caregiver services are all contained in that same bubble of protection."
For more information about the Committee’s efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis and resources for available for veterans, please visit: https://veterans.house.gov/covid-19.
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