- Associated Press - Friday, June 15, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has reached an agreement to continue in-home health care for an Oregon veteran with Lou Gehrig’s disease, it was announced Friday.

Michael Williamson of Springfield sued the federal agency on Jan. 23 in U.S. District Court in Eugene after a VA contract company notified him that his home health care of nearly 20 years would soon end because it couldn’t find caregivers for his round-the-clock assistance.

Officials at the Roseburg VA Health Care System told Williamson he would have to move to an out-of-state nursing home, according to the lawsuit.

The settlement dismissing the lawsuit was announced by U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams, who said Williamson is an honored veteran deserving of thoughtful and attentive care.

Williamson served 14 years in the Air Force and was in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War in the early 1990s. He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis around the turn of the century.

“I’m pleased we were able to achieve a successful outcome that honored our veteran and his family’s wishes while also providing a safe environment for his care,” said David Whitmer, the Roseburg VA’s interim director. “Because of the complex care needed by an ALS patient, this took some time to negotiate and ensure a home-based solution that could meet all of the requirements.”

Thomas Stenson, a Disability Rights Oregon lawyer who represented Williamson, told The Oregonian/Oregonian it was important to his client to continue receiving care at home.

“It was a challenging situation, and when we filed suit, the VA stepped up and we came to an agreement,” Stenson said. “We’re very happy the VA was able to work with us.”

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