Cornyn, Senators Introduce Bill Improving Veterans’ Access to Care
Published 10:40 am Wednesday, April 27, 2016
‘The brave men and women who took a solemn oath and selflessly served our country deserve the best medical care available – not more excuses and ineffective bureaucracy.’
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and six other Senators today introduced the Care Veterans Deserve Act of 2016, legislation that would expand access to care at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) while enhancing choice and flexibility in veterans health care. The legislation supplements and expands on the major reforms enacted by the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, which was signed into law in the wake of the scandal of denied and delayed care at VA hospitals around the country.
“The brave men and women who took a solemn oath and selflessly served our country deserve the best medical care available – not more excuses and ineffective bureaucracy,” Sen. Cornyn said. “I’m proud to support this reform effort to remove these remaining barriers and take proactive steps to ensure Texas veterans receive the care they need in a timely manner.”
Text of the bill can be found here.
Background on the Care Veterans Deserve Act of 2016
Give Veterans Access to Walk-In Clinics
- Allow all veterans enrolled the VA health care system to visit walk-in clinics without pre-authorization from the VA or copayment by the veteran
- Require the VA to contract with a national chain of walk-in clinics to provide veterans access
- Ensure walk-in clinics notify the VA of veteran services in order to ensure patient health records are up to date
Expand VA Operating Hours to Nights and Weekends
- Require the VA to extend VA pharmacy hours to Saturday, Sunday, federal holidays and until 8pm on weekdays to provide comparable pharmacy services offered by retail pharmacies
- Enable qualified, community health care providers to offer volunteer services to veterans on nights and weekends
Make the Veteran Choice Card Program Permanent and Universal
- Make the pilot Veteran Choice Card program permanent
- Make every qualified veteran – no matter where they live or how long they are waiting for care – eligible for the Veteran Choice Card
- Encourage the VA to undergo a best-practices peer-review by some of the best hospital networks in the nation such as the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic
- Prioritize review of VA hospitals with the longest wait-times or with the worst health outcomes as determined by the VA
Expand Telemedicine at the VA
- Allow VA health care professionals licensed, registered or certified in a state to use telemedicine to provide treatment to veterans in other states
Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees.