Veterans Care Coordination (VCC) partners with home care providers to make it easier for Veterans and surviving spouses to age at home by assisting with the screening and application process, coordination of home care, and eligibility management for the Pension with Aid and Attendance (PwAA) benefit. Established in 2011, we have assisted over 14,000 Veteran families and partner with over 600 home care partners nationwide. Our long history of experience has resulted in an over 99% success rate with applications we assist with. As a trusted resource around Pension with Aid and Attendance assistance, we are often asked about companies who offer similar services. As with every industry, there are strong, reliable partners, as well as those who are not. Knowing the right questions to ask will help you to ensure that you are choosing your partners wisely.

First, let’s address a common question that arises when considering engaging with a partner for PwAA assistance: Is it necessary to partner with a PwAA company? Veterans and Surviving Spouses can independently complete and submit an application to the Department of Veterans Affairs or choose to seek assistance in what often feels complicated and confusing. As with completing taxes, it can be done independently, but many people prefer to have an experienced professional’s assistance. Similarly, engaging with the right PwAA partner can simplify the process and save time for the Veteran family while the home care provider is able to focus on providing excellent care.

Experience is essential when it comes to PwAA partners, as experience allows for developing expertise. With this in mind, ask how long the potential partner has been providing these services. Validate the information by requesting references and checking business license registration information. Some companies offer PwAA assistance with other services, such as legal, financial, or home care. A specialization in PwAA for home care is focused on the clients you serve. It can also prevent issues with premature referrals to Assisted Living or provider biases if the partner is affiliated with a home care company. While VCC focuses only on home care, that is not always the case. Understanding the primary focus of the potential partner on the front end may save you from frustration and challenges later.

Ensure that the company’s practices uphold the Veteran’s or surviving spouse’s best interests. Does the potential partner have a process for ensuring the client is charged a fair market rate for home care in their area? What is the method for determining rates? For example, VCC conducts a Rate Analysis in each home care provider’s territory to ensure that the Veteran or Surviving Spouse receives a home care rate that is consistent with home care rates in their area. Additionally, learn about the processes for handling concerns or issues for the client and the home care provider. Do the practices support giving the client and provider a choice if they want to make a provider change? We find at VCC that our Client Care and B2B departments are able to support and assist with resolving issues. Still, we also provide team members dedicated to making provider changes, as we understand that issues such as staffing challenges, client and caregiver compatibility, or other factors may sometimes require modification.

Experienced home care professionals know that families who need help typically cannot wait months for home care when a Veteran or surviving spouse is in need. However, many who qualify for PwAA do not have the funds to start care immediately while their application awaits approval. Since home care qualifies as a medical expense as part of the income requirements for PwAA, families can find themselves unable to afford home care privately but need the home care in place to meet the income to medical expense ratio requirements for eligibility. To overcome these potential obstacles, VCC provides an interest-free CareAdvance loan that allows the client to start home care while the application is processing. Thus, questions on what programs, if any, the potential partner offers to assist Veterans and surviving spouses with these challenges are necessary. With programs like VCC’s CareAdvance Program, the clients you refer for PwAA assistance can start care as quickly as possible and are not denied PwAA simply because they cannot afford the care to meet the income to medical expense requirements.

Lastly, what is the structure of the potential partner’s team? Seek to understand what departments or team members support the client and home care provider. Ask questions to know how many support team members the potential partner may have to not only assist with the application process but to ensure that concerns and issues are resolved for the client and home care provider. Are there dedicated departments, like at VCC, that support Screening, Application Assistance, Client Care, Provider Care, and Billing? If there are inadequate team members or departments to support all of these functions, particularly when a new company is adjusting to growing, this can create issues for both the client and the home care provider.

To quote Mother Teresa, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together, we can do great things.” A great partner will bring expertise and experience to your home care business to help you care for more clients, grow your business, and save you time to focus on your priorities. Thoroughly interviewing potential partners and asking the right questions gives you the information you need to make an informed decision. If you are reading this article, it means you are likely engaged with VCC, so we thank you for your trust in us and your partnership with us to provide home care to Veterans and their families.


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About Cristie Herring

Cristie Herring has been featured as a speaker, as well as authored and presented training for families and caregivers. She has extensive experience in healthcare leadership, having held executive roles in home care and assisted living with early career experience in hospitals and psychiatric settings. During her home care tenure, she has been recognized for her leadership in managing growth, acquisitions, and key initiatives. Herring has a Master of Science degree in Health Services Administration from the University of St. Francis and a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Southern Mississippi.