Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health Ranking Member Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) participated in a hearing entitled “VA Accountability: Assessing Actions Taken in Response to Subcommittee Oversight.”

The hearing was a follow-up to oversight hearings from the first session of the 113th Congress on physician staffing standards, care and treatment for military sexual trauma (MST) survivors, and VA’s overuse of prescription painkillers to treat veterans with chronic pain. In addition, it focused on procurement reform, veterans’ access to care, and billing and collection from third-party health insurance companies for nonservice-connected care. Ranking Member Brownley focused primarily on VA’s Military Sexual Trauma programs.

“I am sure we all agree that it is critical that Congress do all that we can to make it easier for all veterans, including survivors of military sexual trauma, to access needed benefits and services, and to receive treatment,” said Ranking Member Brownley.

According to the VA, FY2013 saw an increase of 9.3 percent in rates of engagement of MST-related care at the Veterans Health Administration. Additionally, VA reports an increase of 14.6 percent in MST-related visits in FY2013.

Brownley co-sponsored several bills to address MST, and the final FY2014 National Defense Authorization Act that was signed into law includes several provisions to address MST.

Ranking Member Brownley also focused on physician productivity, VA’s staffing standards, skyrocketing use of prescription painkillers, alternative approaches to pain therapy, procurement wait times for surgical implants and prosthetic appliances, and third-party insurance collections.

Brownley said she will continue to pursue rigorous oversight of the VA on the issues discussed, to ensure that veterans receive the care they earned and deserve.

Testimony from the hearing is available on the committee’s website at: https://veterans.house.gov/hearing/va-accountability-assessing-actions-taken-in-response-to-subcommittee-oversight-0

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