On June 11, the Senate passed a compromise bill, sponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders and John McCain. It’s just one step towards the goal of reforming a broken healthcare system for the VA.
The bill allows those who live more than 40 miles from the closest VA facility to choose private medical care if they can’t get a timely appointment. It also expands treatment for sexual assault victims.
The bill provides $500 million to hire more VA nurses and doctors. It also provides leases for 26 new VA facilities across 18 states. Both of these efforts aim to reduce waiting times and make access to healthcare easier.
The bill gives the new VA secretary power to fire senior executives without pay during the two-week appeal period. Finally, it creates commissions that will review VA’s obsolete computer systems.
Overwhelming support marked the passing of the bill, 93-2. The House and Senate will now work on a unified bill so the President may sign it into law.
This comes on the heels of a recent audit report that revealed more than 57,000 vets have been waiting longer than three months to get an appointment. The waiting affects 731 VA clinics and hospitals across the nation. Last month it came to light the VA was hiding these wait times by creating secret wait lists. And now investigators found that approximately 79 percent of their facilities used similar tactics to conceal waiting lists at least once. The scandal has led to an FBI investigation, with the potential for criminal charges.
Veterans aren’t just facing difficulties getting medical appointments. Obtaining disability benefits has been an ongoing challenge. But vets may avoid long wait times by ensuring proper completion of paperwork and submission of evidence. An attorney at the Law Offices of Veterans Help Group can help. Call us at 855-855-8992.