Rep. Joseph Aresimowicz (D-Berlin/Southington) introduced the Concerning Prescription Drug Benefits For Veterans In Nursing Home Facilities Act, which the Governor of Connecticut recently signed into law. The bill provides specific medical benefits for those veterans living in nursing home facilities.
Under this new law, nursing homes are not allowed to limit veterans’ access to those prescription drug benefits made available through their state Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The current law applies to veterans who live in skilled nursing homes, which are those homes providing higher levels of care than standard nursing homes.
Because of current rules concerning how drugs are packaged, veterans living in skilled nursing homes are not allowed to receive their drugs directly from the state VA. Different nursing homes require different packaging, e.g., pills packaged in bubble packs as opposed to being supplied in a bottle.
Nursing homes say preferring bubble packages is due to quality control. VA distributed drugs do not exist in bubble packs so veterans eligible to receive VA drugs would not be able to access those drugs at the VA cost. Therefore, once the veterans enrolled in the nursing facilities they could no longer access their drugs at VA costs.
State VAs can not pay for medications the way they can pay for veterans’ room and board. This puts veterans in the position of having to pay out-of-pocket or apply for state medical assistance, which will likely cost hundreds of dollars more than their costs when paying through the VA.
Under this new law, nursing homes are allowed to provide unpackaged drugs, which are provided by the VA, to all qualifying veterans. This law helps both veterans and the state. Veteran-patients in nursing homes can utilize lower drug costs as private payers, and the state will save money as they will not have to pay for veteran-Medicaid patients.
The savings to the veterans are significant. Qualifying veterans receiving VA supplied drugs spend $8 a month irrespective of their income. That same veteran paying for the same medication while living in a nursing home would pay $130-$150 per prescription. Additionally, that veteran would not be covered by the VA.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.