Sen. Harckham’s Bill Helping to Secure Benefits for Veterans Signed by Gov. Hochul

Gov. Hochul holding veterans legislation signed into law, including a bill introduced by Sen. Harckham

Albany, NY – Legislation introduced by New York State Senator Pete Harckham requiring care facilities to ask patients about their military veteran status on intake forms, which will forge better communication between providers and clients and help provide benefits to deserving individuals, has been signed by Governor Kathy Hochul. 

“Our Veterans and their family members deserve all of the high-quality benefits available by federal and state law,” said Harckham, who serves on the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee. “I thank Governor Hochul for signing my bill that will ensure healthcare and residential care providers establish a person’s veteran status on their intake forms. For many, this will increase healthcare coverage availability and help determine eligibility for appropriate services—a simple inquiry that will support the well-being of our Veterans and save lives in the long run.” 

The legislation (S.2977A) will make sure that all intake forms at hospitals, primary care facilities, nursing homes, assisted living residences and homeless shelters seek to ascertain an applicant’s or client’s military status by asking, “Have you or anyone in your household ever served in the military?”  

With this information, a state veterans resource officer can be dispatched to ensure that Veterans and family members receive all of the benefits they are entitled to.  

The American Academy of Nursing's (AAN) Expert Panel on Military & Veterans Health has identified issues associated with the provision of health care to veterans. The AAN recognized that war wounds often are undetected, partly because less than one third of veterans seeking care in a Veteran’s health administration, and similarly those who served with the National Guard and reserve components receive healthcare from private sectors. 

Changing the language of intake forms to “Have you or anyone in your household ever served in the military?” versus the question now used, “Are you a Veteran?” opens the lines of communication between providers and clients to ensure that no one falls between the gaps or forsakes benefits earned with their service.

Information regarding the identification of Veterans and their spouses by healthcare and residential facilities will be shared with appropriate federal and state agencies involved with veterans’ affairs. 

More importantly, said Harckham, individuals signifying veteran status will be provided with information about available benefits and contact information for veterans’ services offices.