Senator Collins worked with the Maine Delegation and Governor Mills to reverse the misguided proposal
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) applauded today’s announcement that Maine Veterans’ Homes’ (MVH) Board of Trustees voted to keep its facilities in Caribou and Machias open.
When MVH made public its plans to close its Caribou and Machias facilities in February, Senator Collins immediately began working with the other members of the Maine Congressional Delegation and Governor Janet Mills to reverse this terrible decision.
“At a time when there is already a severe shortage of nursing home beds in rural areas, this misguided plan would have displaced more than 80 residents, forcing Maine veterans to seek placement as far away as Bangor and Augusta. I heard from numerous families who were worried that Maine Veterans’ Homes’ decision would make it nearly impossible for them to regularly visit their loved ones,” said Senator Collins. “My own father, a World War II combat veteran, spent the last months of his life at the veterans home in Caribou, where he received excellent care. I know how much he liked being with other veterans, and I know how important it was for him to be close to our family.”
“I repeatedly met with the nonprofit’s leadership to urge them to keep their Caribou and Machias facilities open and pledged to provide whatever support was necessary to make that possible,” Senator Collins continued. “It is fantastic news that these facilities will continue to provide care to Aroostook County and Downeast veterans. I look forward to working with my colleagues and Maine Veterans’ Homes on additional permanent solutions to ensure this mistake is not repeated.”
The Maine Congressional Delegation has shown continued support for Maine veterans and Maine Veterans’ Homes. Most recently, this support has included securing emergency COVID-19 funding for MVH from the CARES Act and working to pass the bipartisan State Veterans Homes Domiciliary Care Flexibility Act, which would allow more veterans, particularly those with early onset dementia, to receive affordable residential care at veterans homes across the country, including in Maine. Additionally, as a member of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins secured $50 million for MVH for the construction a 138-bed nursing home in Augusta.
On February 25th, the Maine Delegation sent a letter to the MVH’s Board of Trustees to express their strong opposition to the decision to close the Caribou and Machias facilities. They also had multiple meetings and phone calls with CEO Kelley Kash and the Board to encourage them to identify policy options that would allow the facilities to remain open.