Tricounty News

St. Cloud VA takes applications for new caregiver program

New program enhances VA services for family caregivers

Tuesday, May 3, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published the interim final rule for implementing the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act 2010. This new rule provides additional support to eligible post-9/11 Veterans who elect to receive their care in a home setting from a primary family caregiver.

Veterans and their family caregivers can apply for the new services starting May 9, at www.

caregiver.va.gov. Rose Blesener, the St. Cloud VA Caregiver Support Coordinator, is also available to assist with the application process and direct veterans and their family caregivers to more than two dozen other programs VA offers family caregivers for support.

"We encourage veterans and family caregivers to apply for the additional support," said Barry Bahl, Director of the St. Cloud VA Health Care System. "The new program builds on the foundation of caregiver support now provided at VA and reflects what families and clinicians have long known; that family caregivers in a home environment can enhance the health and well-being of veterans under VA care."

Additional services for primary family caregivers of eligible post-9/11 veterans and service members include a stipend, mental health services, and access to health-care insurance, if they are not already entitled to care or services under a health-care plan. Comprehensive caregiver training and medical support are other key components of this program.

Assistance and information on additional resources are also available to family caregivers through VA's National Caregiver Support Line, (877) 222-VETS (8387). Veterans and caregivers with questions about the new program can contact Blesener at (320) 255-6480, ext. 6066.

All veterans are encouraged to enroll in the VA Health Care System. For information on enrolling for VA health care, contact the

St. Cloud VA HCS Eligibility Office at (320) 255-6340.

Since its opening in 1924, the mission of the St. Cloud VA Health Care System remains constant: to honor America's veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and well-being. The St. Cloud VA Health Care System delivers health care to more than 38,000 veterans per year at the medical center in St. Cloud and community-based outpatient clinics in Brainerd, Montevideo and Alexandria.