Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) announced her bill, Senate Bill 1195 passed unanimously through the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. SB 1195 requires the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), in its five year review of California’s Veterans Homes, to explore opportunities where satellite medical clinics could be placed at or near the homes.
For 138 years, California Veterans Homes have supported the state’s aging and disabled veterans with eight locations that include residential homes and skilled nursing facilities. Every five years, CalVet reviews the use of each home including the current and future needs of the regional veteran’s population.
In fiscal year 2020-21, Governor Newsom attempted to cut funding to one of these homes, located in Barstow, California. In response, Senator Grove built a bipartisan coalition of legislators, veterans and community members to fight against its closure. Since then, Senator Grove has continued to advocate for the residents of the Barstow home and its ongoing operation.
Residents of California Veterans homes typically require services provided by the federal VHA which in some cases may be located 2-3 hours away, often leading an individual to delay or put off necessary and lifesaving treatment. SB 1195 will lead to a process of bringing health care services closer to our veterans’ community.
“There are no limits to the gratitude we share in thanking our service members for their commitment to our country in the armed forces,” said Senator Grove. “This critical legislation will help ensure there are fewer barriers for a veteran to access critical health and mental health services.”
In the “Veterans Homes of California Master Plan 2020” report published by CalVet, the Department stated that their “distribution of levels of care is not entirely consistent with community need.” As the composition of the veterans’ population changes, so do the needs of our veterans. SB 1195 aims to supports CalVet ongoing mission to serve the needs of the veteran community and offering an environment that honors their service to our country.
SB 1195 will next be heard in Senate Appropriations.