President Obama has signed important legislation acknowledging a program designed and implemented with an important contribution from the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services (NRCPDS), one of BC Social Work’s flagship centers.
Called the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 the bill was signed into law just prior to Christmas; its principal focus is to maintain a regular ordered budget process across government agencies.
The bill designates funding for various sectors, including the Veterans Health Administration (VHA); this is where the NRCPDS, working with the VHA and the Administration for Community Living (ACL), has been instrumental in driving forward progress, and the aforementioned Act praises this critical work.
Thanks in large part to an initiative called the Veterans-Directed Home and Community Based Services Program (VD-HCBS), the VHA is taking the first important steps to rebalance its long-term care between institutional nursing home care, and home and community‑based services and supports. Until now most long-term care available through the VHA was delivered in institutions. In recent years, the VHA decided it needed to instead more effectively balance these two service delivery options.
Moving forward, the new legislation requires the VHA to regularly report to Congress on the success of the rebalancing effort, with a specific mention of VD-HCBS. The NRCPDS will continue to work with the VHA and ACL to play a leadership role in both the ongoing development of the VD-HCBS, and in the evaluation of the program.
According to Merle Edwards‑Orr, NRCPDS Director of Veterans Initiatives, “the work of the NRCPDS, partnering with the VHA and ACL, has laid a foundation, so that this legislation, along with the Veterans’ Choice Act (passed this summer), may allow the VHA to expand its HCBS options much more rapidly. NRCPDS expects to play a significant role in that accelerated expansion.”
“The fact that this important law mentions the ongoing work of the NRCPDS marks a big victory for our center,” says Kevin Mahoney, its founding director, and a professor for older adults and families at BC Social Work. “We look forward to expanding upon our ongoing, fruitful partnership with the Veterans Health Administration and the Administration for Community Living.”
We encourage you to learn more about the new leadership at the NRCPDS, in this article from the Boston College Chronicle.