Press Releases

Congressman Jim Bridenstine on Veterans Access to Care Act

Washington, DC, June 10, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Washington D.C., June 10, 2014 | comments

Today, the House unanimously passed H.R. 4810 - The Veterans Access to Care Act, a bill that I co-sponsored in response to the Veterans Administration scandal. An interval VA review released yesterday provided further revelation of shocking incompetence at Obama's VA:

  • 57,000 vets waiting 90 days or more for their first VA appointments
  • 64,000 never getting appointments after requesting them
  • 13 percent of VA scheduling staff altering appointment dates at supervisors' request
  • 8 percent using "off-the-book" scheduling systems to hide the backlog's extent.

As a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, I place top priority on providing our vets with the care they deserve.  I believe that HR 4810 will help reform VA by expanding choice for veterans in OklahomaÍs First District.  Specifically, the bill requires VA to authorize non-VA care _ such as private doctors and hospitals to ALL vets residing 40 miles or more from a VA medical facility. For veterans within 40 miles, VA would authorize non-VA care for those waiting longer than VA wait-time goals (or if notified by VA that an appointment is not available).  Expanding choice for veterans will help decrease wait times and increase access. 

Importantly, the Veterans Access to Care Act also eliminates bonuses and performance awards for all VA employees for fiscal years (FYs) 2014 through 2016.  No one at VA deserves a bonus.  With these recent scandals, it is clear funding should focus on rectifying these issues rather than awarding bonuses.  In fact, I believe criminal investigations should be initiated, and  I'm disappointed that President Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, is dragging his feet.  We know that veterans died because VA cooked the books.  It's time to hold people accountable. 

CONTACT:
Sheryl Kaufman, Communications Director
Phone: 202-225-2211
Email Address: Sheryl.Kaufman@mail.house.gov

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