A US House of Representatives panel has advanced legislation to allows more veterans to see doctors outside the Veterans Affairs system.  The bill, the VA MISSION Act, passed the House Veterans Affairs Committee 20-2.

This bill would allow more veterans to go outside the VA healthcare system and use private-sector doctors when VA medical centers can’t provide appointments within a month, when veterans have to drive more than 40 minutes to access care, or when care is determined inadequate by VA leaders.

The $51 billion plan includes:

  • $5.2 billion to avoid shutdown of the Choice program, which is expected to run out of funds as early as May 31, disrupting medical care for veterans.
  • Choice was created as a reaction to the scandals involving long wait times for care in the VA system, in which veterans died while they waited to receive medical care.
  • Nearly 40 organizations support the measure.

Supporters hope that the legislation will gain the signature of President by the end of May.

Support for this legislation is strong and if approved would transform the Department of Veterans Affairs into a modern, high-performing and integrated healthcare system that will ensure our veterans receive the best healthcare possible from the VA … whether delivered in the VA’s own facilities or in the community.  

Source: Washington Examiner