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The House and Senate voted nearly unanimously to deliver almost $36 billion in veteran care funding over the next three years. The bills would also establish more medical facilities and build up the available medical personnel. The goal is to get an actionable bill on President Obama’s desk as soon as possible.
Two weeks ago, the VA scandal was dominating the news and many members of Congress were demanding explanation. Ret. Gen. Shinseki stepped down in response to growing national disdain for his leadership as well as that of the administration.
If there was any doubt as to how devastating this scandal was to the Obama Administration, it is gone now. The House of Representatives voted unanimously 426-0 to support the Veterans Access to Care Act of 2014 that will give thousands of veterans emergency access to private care. The bill allows eligible veterans who opt for hospital care or medical services in a non-VA facility to receive such care or services through the completion of care, but for no longer than 60 days.
A recent audit on the Department of Veteran Affairs gave new insight into how sweeping a disservice the Department of Veteran Affairs was doing to past service members. The national target for waiting times is 14 days, and more than 100,000 soldiers are enduring waiting times far longer, with over a quarter of the 100,000 waiting between 90 and 120 days for treatment. What’s more, 13% of scheduling staff were directed by superiors to alter the waiting periods to appear more favorable.
The audit targeted 731 medical facilities across the United States and uncovered many flaws in staff conduct, leading to a closer investigation of 112 facilities including ones in San Antonio, Cheyenne, and Atlanta.
The VA operates the largest healthcare system in the country, with 151 hospitals and 827 outpatient clinics serving 8.9 million veterans.
With over one million service members returning to civilian life in the next seven years, it is so important that they receive the best resources available. What will it take for this to become a reality? Do you think these discoveries are the tip of the iceberg?
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