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Peters took up slack on congressional action on VA care crisis

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Open appointment dates at the VA Hospital off GIlman Drive will take less time for a veteran to get now that Rep. Scott Peters' (D-San DIego) efort to pull in both Democrat and Republicans to vote on the VA Reform BIll has come to an end. Peters joined House colleagues on Wednesday, July 30th, to pass the bill that gives the VA emergency funding to open up work on bringing in veterans for medical care.

The Senate's Thursday night passage of the bill guaranteed billions in funding will pay for private healthcare for veterans who waited lengthy periods on a VA hospital wait list.Veterans who do not have an appointment available to them within the wait time the Department of Veterans Affairs set.

Veterans will have the choice to get private care for two years. The private hospitals and clinics that agree with the VA to open up care services to veterans have to complete the care that is part of a veteran's recommended treatment. No privatge healthcare facility can cut a veteran off from getting specialty services.

Private medical professionals, and hospitals, have 60 days after the end of the two years to complete care. Stays at a private hospital can last until the end of the 60 days.

The VA will reimburse private caregivers at the Medicare rates set by the Social Security Act, or, at TriCare rates.

Gaining quality veteran healthcare has been an ongoing office commitment for Peters. The VA Reform Bill Peters helped line up Wednesday's vote on is just one bipartisan solution to delayed care at VA hospitals and clinics. A solution to the current crisis. “This is a rare point of true bipartisanship that will bring needed relief to our veterans and begin to address the failures at the VA,” Rep. Peters said. “But this will not be the last piece to solving the puzzle – it will take a concerted effort and constant oversight to root out the culture of complacency and ineptitude that has left too many of our veterans in the dark.”

The real VA reform is still to comme.

A large count of the billions in new VA funding will pay for doctor and nurse hirings in departments the VA Secretary finds lack adequate staff to offer services. Primary care has been a care shortage area the VA made plans to fix. Annually, the Secretary will decide the level of staffing and services a VA hospital has made a reality for veterans.

One provision in the bill, not part of the effort to give veterans the care the U. S. military promised them when they joined the service, proved another win for Peters. The guarantee inserted in the VA Reform BIll that veterans in the Post 9/11 GI Bill program can pay in-state tuition to go to a college or university to get an education. Peters, earlier in his unseasoned term in office, proposed a bill to add the guarantee to the program.

This is an On The Watch Take.