November 17, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) voted to pass four bills to improve various aspects of veterans’ health, security and well-being. The bipartisan bills involve increased oversight for patient safety and care at Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, care for Native American veterans, free and lifetime entry to U.S. national parks and federal lands for all veterans with service-related disabilities, and accessibility of VA websites to individuals with disabilities.
“We continue to work to support veterans in San Diego and throughout our country, fixing problems we learn along the way,” Rep. Peters said. “Whether veterans are receiving care at a medical center, seeking information about their benefits online or yearning for quality time outdoors in one of our great national parks, we must keep working for them to identify and eliminate the hurdles in the way of their quality of life.”
The legislation passed includes:
- Improving Safety and Security for Veterans Act of 2019: Requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to report on policies and procedures related to patient safety and quality of care, as well as the steps the VA has taken to improve care at VA medical centers throughout the U.S.
- Proper and Reimbursed Care for Native Veterans Act: Under current policy, Native veterans often must drive long distances to the nearest VA for certain types of care. This bill would cut down on redundant VA visits and ensure Native veterans can access the care they need by requiring the Veterans Health Administration to reimburse direct care to Native veterans provided by a Tribe or Indian Health Service (IHS), as well as specialty and contract care provided through a Tribe or IHS.
- Department of Veterans Affairs Website Accessibility Act of 2019: Directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to report to Congress regarding the accessibility of VA websites (including attached files and web-based applications) to users with disabilities. The report should include information on websites, files, and applications that are not accessible to such individuals and include the VA's plan to make each of them accessible.
- Wounded Veterans Recreation Act: Under the 2004 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), veterans need to be classified as having a 100 percent permanent disability to qualify for a free National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. The Wounded Veterans Recreation Act would amend this law so all veterans with service-related disabilities would be eligible for a free, lifetime pass to national parks and federal lands.
As representative of a district with one of the largest veteran populations in the county, Rep. Peters has authored, introduced and passed bills to provide critical benefits for veterans such as education, job training benefits and mental health peer counseling into law, including:
- A bill to ensure all Purple Heart veterans can access their full GI Bill education benefits, signed into law as part of the Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 or the “Forever GI Bill”;
- The Veteran PEER Act, signed into law as part of the VA MISSION Act of 2018; and
- A bill to provide education and job training benefits to guardsmen and reservists, signed into law as part of the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018.