SAN DIEGO, CA – Today, Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) released the following statement calling for quick implementation of reforms at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) after President Obama signed H.R. 3230, the bipartisan “Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act,” into law:
“This law is a positive step toward ending the culture of complacency at the VA that has undermined the promises made to our nation’s veterans,” Rep. Peters said. “It will increase accountability and oversight, and improve access to the necessary health care services our veterans deserve.
“Now that this bipartisan effort has become law, it’s time to implement the changes as soon as possible. As I’ve said in the past, this isn’t the last piece of the puzzle, but rather the beginning of a concerted effort and constant oversight from Congress and community leaders across the country.”
During the debate over the bill late last month, Congressman Peters spoke out for a bipartisan solution to the crisis at the VA, when he led the “motion to instruct” House leadership to stop the bickering and agree with the Senate version of the VA bill, including on in-state tuition for veterans among other things. Although the motion lost narrowly, 205-207, DC press has credited Peters’ motion as the catalyst for the final bipartisan agreement.
Specific provisions included in the deal:
- Increased access to health care
- Allows the VA to lease more facilities
- Immediately hire doctors and nurses to fill pressing staff shortages
- Allows veterans to see non-VA providers if they have been forced to wait for an appointment or live too far from a VA facility
- Improved accountability at the VA
- Independent assessment of care and services at VA facilities
- Allows the VA secretary to fire incompetent senior administrators
- Requires a specific plan to improve VA scheduling software
- Expands counseling care and services to victims of military sexual trauma
- Requires that veterans be able to access in-state tuition rates at public higher-education facilities regardless of their residency
- Extends the VA’s Assisted Living Pilot Program for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) until 2017