Daines’ VA Reform Passes the House

While some members of Congress are simply holding yet another “listening session,” Congressman Steve Daines (R-MT) appears to actually be working to get the job done. 

One day after a VA audit showed that 57,000 veterans across the US are waiting for an appointment, and the average wait for a new appointment in Montana is 48 days- legislation backed by Daines passed the US House of Representatives that will allow for veterans to get care from another health care facility closer to home. 



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed Representative Steve Daines’ bipartisan bill to improve Montana veterans’ ability to receive health care services in a timely manner and in a convenient location. H.R. 4810, the Veterans Access to Care Act, was passed with unanimous support.

The legislation, which Daines helped introduce yesterday, would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to offer non-VA care at the department’s expense to any enrolled veteran who cannot get an appointment within the VA wait time goals, currently 14 days, or who lives more than 40 miles away from a VA medical facility.

The Veterans Access to Care Act would require VA to submit quarterly reports to Congress including usage info and an account as to what methods were used to provide non-VA care. Additionally, the bill would ban bonuses for all VA employees from FY 2014 – 2016.

“Recent reports of delayed care, mismanagement and cover-ups highlight the seriousness of the problems at VA medical centers across the nation – problems that must be addressed immediately,” Daines said. “Montana veterans shouldn’t have to wait for weeks or drive long distances to receive the care they deserve. The Veterans Access to Care Act offers simple reforms that will improve veterans’ ability to receive the services they were promised and bring more accountability to the VA system.”

Under Daines’ bill, any care provided by a non-Department facility not under an existing VA contract would be reimbursed at the rate set by the VA, Tricare or Medicare – whichever is greatest. The access portions of the bill would sunset two years after enactment of the bill.


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