Source: United States Senator Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona)
Senators’ bill closes a loophole to allow tribes to receive federal grants to build veteran nursing homes
WASHINGTON – Today, Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced the bipartisan Nursing Home Care for Native American Veterans Act, which supports the construction of veteran nursing homes on tribal lands.
Currently, there are no veteran nursing homes on tribal lands, which impacts rural communities across the country. Tribal lands are excluded from a law that allows for 65 percent of construction costs of veteran nursing homes to be reimbursed. The Nursing Home Care for Native American Veterans Act fixes this issue, allowing federal grant money to reimburse tribal veteran nursing home construction.
“Native American veterans in Arizona earned the same benefits as all other veterans. We are ensuring that as Native American veterans age, they have access to quality care in their communities,” said Sinema.
“Native American veterans of all ages in North Dakota and across the country deserve access to quality, local care just like every other veteran,” said Cramer. “Our bill eliminates the loophole prohibiting reimbursement for veteran nursing homes on tribal lands, making health care more available and accessible for those who served our country.”
“As the President of the Navajo Nation, I fully support the Nursing Home Care for Native American Veterans Act to include tribal nursing homes under Veterans’ Benefits to assist with nursing home care for our veterans. The Navajo people have a long and proud history of serving in the Armed Forces and many of our young men and women continue to serve our country in many places around the world today. We hope to have nursing home facilities constructed on the Navajo Nation through this measure. We ask Congress to pass this bill for the benefit of all veterans who have sacrificed so much for our homelands,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.
“American Indians serve in the military at a higher rate than any other ethnic group and they do so proudly. Ensuring that Native American veterans are able to receive the care available at state veterans homes while remaining in their Tribal communities, is essential to their care”, said Shan Lewis, Vice Chairman, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and President, Inter Tribal Association of Arizona. “We appreciate Senator Sinema for her leadership in addressing this issue and for standing with Native American Veterans in Arizona and across the country.”
“More American Indians and Alaska Natives serve in the military than any other demographic in the country. The federal government has a dual responsibility to Native Veterans – one in recognition of their service to the country, and the other because of their political status as American Indians and Alaska Natives. The National Indian Health Board supports the Nursing Home Care for Native American Veterans Act, as it would significantly improve access to nursing homes for Native Veterans living on Tribal lands and reservations. In addition, it furthers the Trust responsibility by ensuring that Tribes are being reimbursed by the Veterans Administration for constructing these vital centers. NIHB is committed to working in a bipartisan fashion to advance this important bill,” said the National Indian Health Board.
The bipartisan Nursing Home Care for Native American Veterans Act is endorsed by the Navajo Nation, the Inter Tribal Association of Arizona, the National Indian Health Board, and the National Congress of American Indians.