Co-sponsored legislation to help veterans facing longer wait times at VA facilities
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, voted to support legislation that will provide veterans with greater access to health care. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 421-0.
“Yesterday’s Veterans Affairs (VA) audit showing almost 60,000 veterans waiting to get appointments at the VA with 70 percent of facilities placing these patients on alternative lists to make wait times appear shorter is appalling. This legislation will give the VA the authority to provide care for eligible covered veterans and help lower the egregious wait times we’re seeing across the country,” said Walorski. “My priority will continue to be ensuring our veterans receive the care and benefits they deserve and this legislation is one step in the right direction.”
H.R. 4810, the “Veteran Access to Care Act of 2014,” which Walorski co-sponsored, was drafted in response to reports across the country that veterans requesting doctor appointments were put on long waiting lists which resulted in many VA facilities falsifying and covering up wait times. The bill, which passed with bipartisan support, will allow veterans to get health care from a non-VA provider if the veteran lives more than 40 miles from a VA facility or has waited longer than the wait-time goals for an appointment.
The legislation now heads to the Senate for further consideration.
An audit released yesterday by the VA found that over 57,000 veterans are still waiting for their initial appointment.
Recent reports across the country have linked many VA patient care problems to widespread mismanagement within VA facilities, including dozens of preventable deaths at VA medical centers nationwide, including 13 in Indiana.
Walorski co-sponsored H.R. 4031 the “Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014” in the House of Representatives to address widespread problems currently plaguing the VA.