Arlington, Va. – Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) is commending House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Dr. Phil Roe for introducing HR 5674 – the MISSION Act (Maintaining Internal Structures and Strengthening Integrated Outside Network Act of 2018) – legislation that would enact critical, bipartisan reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical system. The group is urging members of Congress in both chambers to take up and quickly pass the legislation, as these compromise reforms have languished for several months.
The MISSION Act stabilizes and reforms the VA’s health care system by consolidating the VA’s community care programs, defining clear standards for when a veteran can access care outside of the VA, and initiates a review of the department’s infrastructure. The legislation also aims to reform the VA’s reimbursement and record-sharing systems for community providers.
CVA Executive Director Dan Caldwell released this statement:
“While Congress was right to create the Veterans Choice Program in the aftermath of the 2014 VA waitlist scandal, a number of problems with the current Choice program and other community care programs need to be resolved. The MISSION Act would go a long way towards resolving problems with the VA’s existing community care programs and stabilizing the VA’s health care system. We’re also encouraged that the MISSION Act mandates a long-overdue review of the VA’s infrastructure across the country. With more than half of VA facilities over 50 years old, it’s critical that we begin working to modernize the VA’s infrastructure to serve a new generation of veterans.
“With the Veterans Choice Program facing another funding shortfall in the coming weeks, it is absolutely critical that Congress pass the MISSION Act swiftly to ensure veterans don’t lose access to critical care. We’ll be working with our grassroots volunteers across the country to urge lawmakers to pass this legislation for our nation’s heroes.”
For years, CVA has advocated for substantial health care reforms at the VA. In CVA’s Fixing Veterans Health Care Taskforce, the group advocates that veterans should have the option to take their earned health care benefits and use them to access care at the VA or in the private sector.
The grassroots group recently expressed disappointment that compromise language to stabilize the VA choice program and reviewing the department’s assets and infrastructure (CVA on Omission of VA Reforms from Omnibus Spending Package, cv4a.org, 22 March 2018).
CVA has been urging Congress to take action on legislation to stabilize the VA health care system so that Congress can move on to broader structural improvements to the Veterans Health Administration and will continue to do so.