Minnesota/South Dakota Veteran Directed Home and Community Based Services Program–A long standing partnership


In this new era of value-based care, which places an increasing emphasis on person-centered service delivery and interdisciplinary care teams, community-based organizations (CBOs) in the Aging and Disability Networks can come together to leverage strengths and serve as strong partners to health care entities’ integrated care programs.

An example of this kind of synergy impacting the lives of older adults and people with disabilities is occurring in Minnesota, through an innovative collaboration between the Sioux Falls Veteran Administration Medical Center (VAMC), the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging (MNRAAA) and the Southwestern Center for Independent Living (SWCIL). These organizations have teamed up to deliver the Veteran-Directed Home and Community-Based Services (VD-HCBS) program, a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) program designed to support veterans with nursing home level of care needs to continue living independently in their homes and communities. This partnership is having a real and positive impact on the quality of life for the veterans and caregivers involved in the program. [VD-HCBS Brochure]


Partnership: Center for Independent Living and Area Agency on Aging

In the early rollout of the VD-HCBS program, Area Agencies on Aging were identified as CBOs that met VA qualifications to engage VAMCs in a service provider agreement. Using a Hub and Spoke business model, MNRAAA performs administrative functions (Hub) and subcontracts with SWCIL (Spoke) to provide person-centered counseling and work directly with veterans and their families. Remarkably, the original team that formed in 2010, Ruth (VAMC), Elaine, (MNRAAA), and Linda (SWCIL) are still working together and meet at least on a quarterly basis. This long-standing partnership between agencies has strengthened the VD-HCBS program at the Sioux Falls VAMC.


 Serving Rural Veterans

Veterans living in the rural areas of southwest Minnesota have limited options for local home health and home care agencies and often have more difficulty receiving these services in their homes. VD-HCBS is an extremely valuable program because it gives veterans control over a flexible service budget that they can use to hire friends and family members to provide the care they need. The program also allows veterans the choice to receive services on a schedule that works best for them. Without the VD-HCBS program, veterans may be unable to find the services they need that enable them to stay in their homes.


Program Success

SWCIL has worked with 28 veterans over the last eight years. One of the first enrolled veterans from 2010 is still a consumer in the program. For Gus, a retired Air Force veteran who has a terminal disease, the program’s flexible service budget paired with support from SWCIL’s person-centered counselor ensures that his changing care needs are met. The Minnesota VD-HCBS team feels this program has been a great success because it enables veterans to receive care at home, fulfilling their wishes to remain home for as long as possible. MNRAAA, SWCIL, and the Sioux Falls VAMC continue to have a strong partnership that supports veterans to have choice and control over their lives at home in their community.

The Aging and Disability Business Institute has developed an in-depth Success Story on this program. Read it HERE.