We have been getting many many calls from upset veterans who are afraid and vulnerable, living at home with home care aides to help them live independently.

Starting Oct. 1, their care is being reduced by at least 50 percent in hours per week, and we are seeing this to be true.

This will leave many veterans little option but to go to the hospital (much much more expensive), or skilled nursing home (much more expensive), or assisted living (more expensive), all of which are also covered under the VA benefit. As seniors are the fastest-growing segment of our population and their greatest goal is to live at home independently, they are fearful for what their future will now be like. And rightfully so.

Cutting the VA budget by 10 percent, resulting in less care for the end user, seems to be a fragile interpretation of the intent. In this particular case it will absolutely increase the utilization costs by the end user when they are no longer supported in their homes and forced to seek medical attention in a hospital or facility at a much higher cost to the system.

Please, I urge our community: Support the call to special session to reconsider this decision.

There are numerous studies that prove again and again that in-home caregiving and in-home palliative care reduces the overall budget expense for health care in all payor systems. With over 20 years of experience in this field from administration to research and direct care, I can attest that this is incredibly true.

Help our veterans and our VA system to do what is right for the budget and for the quality of care for our people.

-- Maurika Moore is a certified hospice and palliative care administrator, and founder and chief executive officer of Hestia In-Home Support in Missoula.

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