Rep. Graves Votes To Ensure Veterans Have Prompt Medical Appointments, More Care Choices
June 10, 2014 -
Today, U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) and the U.S. House passed the Veterans Access To Care Act (H.R. 4810), which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to offer non-VA care at the department’s expense to veterans who live over 40 miles from a VA medical facility, or cannot get an appointment within the VA scheduling goal.
“We are moving quickly to get our veterans off the wait lists and into doctors’ offices,” said Rep. Graves. “Under the bill we passed today, veterans seeking medical care will have more choices, and they will no longer face the barriers of secret wait lists and extended travel time. More must be done to resolve the serious problems at the VA, but this legislation will provide relief for many veterans who would otherwise be denied the care they earned and deserve. The president and Senate must work with us and pass this bill into law as soon as possible.”
Specifically, the Veterans Access To Care Act allows veterans who have not had an appointment within the VA’s current scheduling goal of 14 days, or who live over 40 miles away from a VA medical facility, to choose to receive care from a non-VA provider. That care includes follow-up appointments and services associated with the specific medical situation, with the duration of the treatment capped at 60 days.
The legislation also bans bonuses for VA employees through Fiscal Year 2016, and those projected savings will be used to offset the cost of reimbursing health care providers.
The House action today follows a bill passed last month with Rep. Graves’ support that allows the swift removal of senior level VA employees who have failed to do their jobs.