Veterans group urges passage of bill to improve veterans’ community care access, remove VA barriers to veterans’ health care choice
ARLINGTON, Va.—Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Executive Director Russ Duerstine issued a statement regarding the introduction of the Veterans’ HEALTH Act of 2023 sponsored by Sen. Jerry Moran (Kan.) and co-sponsored by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.).
If passed, the Veterans’ HEALTH Act of 2023 would protect the health care choices millions of veterans have come to rely on since the enactment of the VA MISSION Act, requiring the VA to better support access to community care, be more transparent on wait times, ease scheduling for veterans, and drive better access to telehealth.
Russ Duerstine, CVA’s Executive Director, had this to say about the bill:
“The VA has continued to ignore the intent of Congress by undermining the Veterans Community Care Program since its creation in 2019. By manipulating wait times, dissuading veterans from using their benefits outside the VA, and overruling doctors’ recommendations, VA administrators have looked out for their bureaucratic interests at the expense of millions of veterans’ wellbeing.
The Veterans’ HEALTH Act of 2023 would protect and improve veterans’ health care choices. The bill would codify common-sense wait-time measurements and protect the eligibility standards for veterans’ access to community care, requiring veterans to be told about these choices. The bill would also create a self-scheduling portal and remove red tape blocking veterans from faster access to mental health and substance abuse treatment. Given the VA’s poor track record at carrying out reforms, the Veterans’ HEALTH Act also holds it accountable for progress.”
Under the VA MISSION Act, the VA established access standards for community care through the regulatory process. However, over the last year, the Biden Administration and VA Secretary Denis McDonough have decided to roll back those access standards, limiting community care options and access for veterans due to concerns of increased demand for care outside the VA and the costs associated.
The HEALTH Act of 2023, introduced by Sen. Jerry Moran and co-sponsored by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, would codify the VA MISSION Act’s access standards, create a self-scheduling portal for community care, reexamine rural and telehealth delivery, and require the VA to publish wait times.
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