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‘Innovative’ program allows disabled veterans to live at home

MECHANICSVILLE, Va. -- Local veterans, their families, and federal leaders came together at the Mechanical American Legion Post Thursday to celebrate an "innovative" program that gives disabled veterans the ability to control their own care.  The Veterans-Directed Home and Community Based Services (VDHCBS) program allows disabled veterans to live in their own homes instead of nursing homes.

Acting U.S. Health and Human Services Director Eric Hargan was in attendance.  More than 2,000 veterans nationwide are enrolled in the program nationwide.  Locally, the program is run by Bay Aging and McGuire VA Medical Center.

Veterans enrolled in VDHCBS controls their own program by using a flexible budget to hire family members, friends, or neighbors to deliver care and services.  Those services can range from home care aides to help maintaining their property.

With more 700,000 veterans living in Virginia, state and federal officials have worked to expand the program.  Starting Dec. 1, the VDHCBS program will be offered to veterans at Hampton VA Medical Center.

Chesterfield resident Lauri Roger's son Daivd is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.  David Rogers was paralyzed and suffered a severe brain injury when he was 22 years old, and requires near constant care.  Lauri Rogers said after years of nightmare experiences with other veteran service programs, VDHCBS provided their family with trustworthy care givers, like David's home aide, Nadiyah.

"The vet-directed program is the first one that afforded us the ability and flexibility to try to return to a form of normal family life," Lauri Rogers said.