Congress recently passed the Veterans Access to Care Act of 2014, an important VA reform bill that now awaits President Obama’s signature. The House approved the bill, which addresses delays in veterans’ access to care, on July 30. The Senate overwhelmingly adopted it in a 91 to 3 vote the following day.
Key Topics in the New VA Act
Whistleblowers recently brought to light the shady practices that result in patient care delays, because, as American Legion legislative director Louis Celli states according to media reports, “The VA was cooking the books.”
Retired Phoenix VA physician and the first whistleblower for the falsification of wait times and delays in patient care Sam Foote, MD, explains that the new legislation “is a very good first step” that addresses the pressing needs for more staff and outpatient private care referrals, according to reports.
The Veterans Access to Care Act of 2014 highlights several key topics.
- Accessibility to care – with the adoption of the new Act, veterans will be permitted to receive care from private practitioners if they live more than 40 miles from a VA facility or if the first scheduled appointment at the nearest VA facility is more than 30 days away.
- Choice of care – the new Act includes the Injured and Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights which, among other privileges, gives veterans the right to access the private orthotists and prosthetists of their choice, even if the physician does not have a VA contract.
- Practitioner rules – under the Act, the private O&P practitioners will have to abide by certain rules, e.g., they have to participate in the Medicare program, agree to the standard Medicare rates, and be properly licensed and credentialed according to Medicare’s speculations.
Legal Help for Veterans
If you are having issues with your benefits or think there have been errors on your claim, the Law Offices of Veterans Help Group can help. Contact our firm today to inquire about our services and see how we may be of assistance to you: 1-855-855-8992.