In response to troubling reports of misconduct and medical care delays, Congress has acted recently on legislation to address problems within VA. On June 10, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4810, the Veteran Access to Care Act of 2014. On June 11, the Senate passed similar legislation, the Veterans’ Access to care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act.
Both of these bills include provisions that would allow Veterans to seek care at non-VA medical centers if they experience a long wait or live far from a clinic, require an independent performance assessment for VHA, and give the VA secretary greater authority to fire senior executives over performance problems. Minor differences between the House and Senate legislation are based on VA employee bonuses, provisions to help VHA keep up with demand, guaranteed in-state tuition for Veterans at public colleges and universities, and expanding access to care for military sexual assault victims.
Congress will now work out the differences in the bills before it is sent to the President for his signature. ASA is closely watching these bills and will continue to provide any requested information on how the medical community can best serve our nation’s Veterans.