On Tuesday, the U.S House of Representatives unanimously passed by a vote of 426-0, the Veteran Access to Care Act of 2014, sponsored by U.S. Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL) and received bi-partisan support.
The legislation would make it easier for patients enduring long waits for care at Veterans Affairs facilities to get VA-paid treatment from local doctors. In a rare move, the support was strong enough that not only did the lawmakers unanimously vote once; they ended up voting for the bill twice.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) messaged its members on Wednesday through email, praising the passage of the Act, and is hopeful that the U.S. Senate will approve and pass this legislation immediately.
Dan Caldwell, Issue and Legislative Campaign Manager for Concerned Veterans for America said in the email, “This important piece of legislation will give veterans in rural areas and veterans who have been waiting extended periods of time for VA healthcare the choice to use private medical providers to meet their medical needs. Concerned Veterans for America supports this important reform and believes it is an essential step towards fixing the VA.”
“Now it is up to the Senate to act on both the Veteran Access to Care Act and the VA Management Accountability Act, which also passed the House in an overwhelming bipartisan vote. It is our hope that the Senate acts swiftly on legislation that incorporates both the Veteran Access to Care Act and the VA Accountability Management Act, without watering down the principles embodied in both bills or dumping more money into the VA without some measure of reform,” said Caldwell.
The Veteran Access to Care Act was introduced due to numerous reports of veterans waiting for long periods for health care.
On Monday, WSBTV in Atlanta reported that military veterans in Atlanta are waiting longer than anywhere else in the state for medical care. The VA facilities in Georgia alone, requiring further analysis in Georgia are at the Savannah, Dublin, Augusta, Atlanta, and the Smyrna/Austell clinics.
The complete nationwide VA audit was released on June 9, 2014, accessible here, presents the wait times and other medical provider issue at VA medical centers across the nation based on audit findings.
The nationwide Access Audit covered a total of 731separate points of access, and involved over 3,772 interviews of clinical and administrative staff involved in the scheduling process at VA Medical Centers (VAMC), large Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) serving at least 10,000 Veterans and a sampling of smaller clinics.
The VA audit was initiated due to the allegations that veterans died waiting for care at the VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona.