The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) offers long-term care to California veterans who are aged ordisabled and, under certain circumstances, to spouses and domestic partners of veterans. These services are providedat eight Veterans Homes throughout the state. They stretch from Redding in the north to Chula Vista in the south, out tothe desert in Lancaster and Barstow, and closer to the coast in Ventura and West Los Angeles. CalVet’s oldestVeterans Home, built in 1884, is in Yountville in the Napa Valley. Its newest Homes opened in 2013, located in Fresno and Redding.
With highly skilled and dedicated leadership and staff, these Veterans Homes provide premier care, a compassionateand close-knit atmosphere, activities and amenities that enhance residents’ quality of life, and home-like environments.They range in size from 60 beds to nearly 1,000 beds. System-wide, the Homes offer four levels of care (although not alllevels are offered at all Homes):
*Some Homes also offer a Skilled Nursing Memory Care program that is specialized for those with symptoms ofconfusion, memory loss, difficulty making decisions, solving problems or participating in conversations.
The application to a CalVet Veterans Home contains three sections, Sections A, B, and C. The applicant (or applicant's representative) completes Sections A and B; Section C is completed by the applicant's physician.
Individuals interested in becoming members of one of CalVet’s Veterans Home communities often begin theprocess with an inquiry to one of the Homes or CalVet’s Headquarters in Sacramento, or by reviewing informationon our website. Those who meet the statutorily defined eligibility requirements (which are discussed in more detailin the next section) are invited to submit an application to one of our Homes. This application may be transferred toa different Veterans Home later, if the applicant decides another Home may be a better fit. The application, which isavailable online, includes a section which must be completed by the applicant’s physician and documentation suchas a DD-214, acceptable proof of California residency, and other items (see a checklist of required documentsprovided as part of the application).
Once this information is processed, the applicant will be contacted by the Veterans Home he or she has selected todiscuss any remaining documentation needs, explain the remainder of the process, and schedule a pre-admissionclinical evaluation (known as a pre-admission assessment, PAA) to identify the most appropriate level of care.
Often, applicants must be placed on a waiting list for admission to the Homes, although some levels of care insome Homes require little or no wait. CalVet’s admission staff in the Homes and at Headquarters are happy to workwith applicants to identify a Veterans Home that best meets their timing and care needs.
The Veterans Homes operate in accordance with numerous laws and regulations related to admissions, licensingand certification, and operation as a California state agency. For admissions, the rules and requirements aredefined most notably in the California Military and Veterans Code and CalVet’s own sections of the California Code ofRegulations.Eligibility for admission to the Veterans Homes is defined through the following:
Military and Veterans Code Section 1012, which states:
(a) Except as provided in Section 1012.4, veterans’ homes are for aged or disabled persons who served in theArmed Forces of the United States of America who were discharged or released from active duty under conditionsother than dishonorable, who are eligible for health care benefits, hospitalization or domiciliary care in a veterans’facility in accordance with the rules and regulations of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and whoare bona fide residents of this state at the time of application; and for the spouses or domestic partners of thesepersons if all of the following conditions, as are applicable, are satisfied:(1) Space is available.
(2) Joint residency will be in the best interests of the home member, as determined by the administrator.
(3) The spouse or domestic partner is a bona fide resident of this state at the time of application foradmission to the home and either is married to, and has resided with, the veteran applicant for atleast one year, or is the widow or widower of a recipient of the Medal of Honor or a former prisoner ofwar (POW).
(4) The home member and spouse or domestic partner agree to pay the fees and charges for jointresidency, or for a widow or widower, for the residency, that the department may establish.
(b) (1) Veterans who qualify for benefits under this chapter due to service during a time of war shall be given priority over veterans who qualify due to service during a time of peace. (2) Veterans who qualify for benefits under this chapter who are recipients of the Medal of Honor or who wereprisoners of war (POWs) shall be given priority over all other qualified veterans, regardless of the level ofcare required. (3) Veterans who qualify for benefits under this chapter who have been rated by the United States Departmentof Veterans Affairs as being 70 percent or greater service-connected disabled may be given priority overother veterans. (4) The secretary may establish needs-based criteria for admission to the homes, and any veteran meetingthose criteria may be given priority over veterans who do not qualify for prioritization under paragraph (2) or (3) and can afford to provide for their own care elsewhere. (5) Paragraphs (3) and (4) shall not apply to veterans who, as of January 1, 2018, are on a wait list awaitingadmission to a veterans’ home.(c) A member spouse or domestic partner may continue residence after the veteran’s death so long asthey continue to pay all applicable fees.
(d) The property of the home shall be used for this purpose.
Additional details of these requirements are defined in the following sections of the California Code of RegulationsTitle 12, Division 2, Chapter 4, Subchapter 1:
Section 505, Veterans Home AdmissionSection 505.1, Applicant's RightsSection 505.2, Eligibility Determination.Section 505.3, Priorities for Admissions.Section 505.4. Pre-Admission Evaluation.Section 505.6. Release of Patient Information.Section 505.11 Rights to Appeal.Section 505.12 Waiting Lists for Admission.
Once the Veterans Home receives a completed application and sufficient clinical evaluation is complete, anapplicant may be placed on a waiting list. Waiting lists are maintained at each Home, for each level of care.Applicants may switch their application from one Home to another, if the anticipated wait time for admission maybe shorter; this application transfer shall begin with a conversation between the applicant and the originallyselected Home or a member of the Headquarters admission staff.
The CalVet staff addressing the transfer request may provide other direction or guidance to the applicant in order to complete the shift of the application. Additional medical information or an additional clinical review may be necessary in order for the newly selected Home to process the application and adequately identify the appropriate level of care.
Some waiting lists for some Homes or levels of care may be extensive, translating into several weeks, months, oreven years of wait time for applicants. CalVet regrets the hardship this reality may present to our applicants, but likeall organizations, we operate within finite resources. Additionally, it is possible for an applicant to move down awaiting list, rather than up. State law prescribes certain prioritization guidelines for applications. Certain applicantswho meet these factors may be prioritized ahead of others, even when others applied before they did. As time andresources allow, our staff are happy to assist applicants who are unable to endure lengthy wait times with identifyingalternate avenues to meet their needs.
The following table represents CalVet’s estimates for average waiting times for admission, by Veterans Home and by level of care. Please note waiting times are approximate. Many factors influence the amount of time applicants spend on a waiting list. CalVet officials derive these estimates through regular assessments, but many variables exist. To discuss specific elements of an individual applicant’s projected wait time, please contact a Home’s admissions office.
Average Waiting Times - All Homes