VA Home and Community-Based Services
By LTC (US ARMY AVIATION Retired) W. Larry Dandridge
Many veterans are eligible for VA Home and Community-Based Services. Those services may include Home Based Primary Care (HBPC), Homemaker Home Health Aide Care, Skilled Home Health Care, Veteran-Directed Care, Adult Day Care, Respite Care, Telehealth, Palliative Care, and Hospice Care.
Use the VA Website. Veterans, their family members, and caregivers should read about VA Geriatrics and Extended Care at https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/. This webpage will explain most of the things veterans and their family members need to know about Home and Community Services, Residential Settings and Nursing Homes, Long Term Care, Health-Fitness-and Rehabilitation, End-of-life Planning and Advance Care Planning, Mental Health, Memory Loss, Brain Health, and VA and non-VA resources.
Ask Your VSO for help. They should also ask their local Veterans Service Officer (VSO) to explain what healthcare and other benefits they are eligible for and how to apply for those benefits ——- especially their healthcare benefits. Veterans can find S.C. County VSOs at https://scdva.sc.gov/county-veterans-affairs-offices. Veterans can find Georgia VSOs at https://veterans.georgia.gov/locations/veterans-field-service-office-near-you.
VA Healthcare eligibility. Veterans should read the eligibility requirements and other information at https://www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility/. The Eligibility Office at each VA Medical Center and each Community Based Out-patient Clinic can tell a veteran if they are eligible for VA healthcare. Veterans can find their nearest VA facility (Medical Center, Health Clinic, etc.) online at https://www.va.gov/find-locations/). The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center (RHJVAMC) is located at 109 Bee Street, Charleston, SC 29414. The RHJVAMC Community-Based Out-Patient Clinics (CBOCs) are located in North Charleston, SC; Beaufort, SC; Goose Creek, SC; Myrtle Beach, SC; Trident VA Clinic (near Ladson) N. Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA; and Hinesville, GA.
Ask your VA Care Team and Social Worker for Help. If a veteran is already enrolled in VA healthcare, he or she should have a VA Primary Care Physician, Registered Nurse, and Social Worker assigned to them The veteran’s Social Worker is there to help the veteran and their family to understand their healthcare benefits, navigate the VA system, connect them to the VA employee who can assist them, and apply for the type of healthcare the veteran may need.
Find your VA Social Worker. Veterans can find out who their Social Worker is by calling their local VA Medical Center or CBOC. They can also search the VA’s Directory of Social Worker Leaders found at https://www.socialwork.va.gov/Social_Work_Leaders.asp?utm_source=geriatrics&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=find_a_VA_social_worker.
VA Medical Centers and Social Worker Leaders in SC. The Charleston, SC Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center’s main phone number is 843-577-5011 and Debra A King is listed as the Social Worker leader there. Her direct phone number is 843-789-7374 and her email address is listed as Debra.King3@va.gov. The Columbia, SC William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center’s main number is 803-776-4000. Sherree Colvin is listed as the Social Worker Leader. Her phone extension is 57622 and her email address is Sherree.Colvin@va.gov.
How to Apply for VA Healthcare. Veterans should read the VA’s How to Apply for VA Health Care webpage at https://www.va.gov/health-care/how-to-apply/ to find out how to apply for VA health care benefits. Veterans can apply for healthcare in any one of the following four ways: (1.) By phone by calling 877-222-8387, (2.) By mail by filling out VA Form 10-10EZ and sending it to Health Eligibility Center, 2957 Clairmont Rd., Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30329, (3.) In-person by going to their nearest VA Medical Center or VA Health Clinic.
Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC). According to the VA’s HBPC webpage found at https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/pages/Home_Based_Primary_Care.asp, Home Based Primary Care is healthcare services provided to veterans in their home by a VA multi-disciplined healthcare team (Doctor, Nurse, Social Worker, Dietician, Occupational Therapy, and others as needed). The goal of HBPC is to keep veterans in their homes for as long as possible —- because home is where everyone wants to be.
The program is for veterans who need team-based and in-home support for ongoing (and usually complex) diseases and illnesses that affect their health and daily activities. The patient’s impairment may be cognitive or functional. Normally, the patient is just too sick to get into the medical center or clinic.
The patient may need HBPC because the caregiver does not drive any longer. Veterans usually have difficulty making and keeping clinic visits because of the severity of their illness and are often homebound, but that is not required. This program is also for veterans who are isolated, or whose caregiver is experiencing a burden. HBPC can be used in combination with other Home and Community-Based Services.
The bottom line. Do not miss out on your hard-earned VA healthcare and other benefits. Contact your county Veterans Service Office and get a VA-accredited VSO to help you today. Veterans can find S.C. County VSOs at https://scdva.sc.gov/county-veterans-affairs-offices. Veterans can find Georgia VSOs at https://veterans.georgia.gov/locations/veterans-field-service-office-near-you.
About the author. Larry Dandridge is a Vietnam War wounded warrior, a combat 100% service-connected disabled veteran, an ex-Enlisted Infantryman, an ex-Warrant Officer Attack Helicopter Pilot, and a retired Lt. Colonel. He is a past Veterans Service Officer, a Patient Adviser at the RHJ VA Hospital, a Patient and Family Centered Care (PFCC) Instructor, a Fisher House Charleston Good Will Ambassador, and the VP for Veteran Affairs for the local Coastal Carolina Chapter of the Association of the US Army and the Charleston SC Military Officers of America (MOAA) Chapter.
Larry is also the author of the award-winning Blades of Thunder (Book One) and a contributing freelance writer with the Beaufort SC Island News. Larry’s more than 250 articles on veterans’ benefits, leadership, hospice, logistics, and law enforcement have been published in more than 20 magazines and newspapers and three books in the USA, Germany, and England. He is also a sought-after speaker on the subjects he writes about. Contact him at LDandridge@earthlink.net or 843-276-7164.