Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) reintroduced the “Veterans Medical Access Act” (H.R. 288), which would ensure blinded and catastrophically disabled veterans have access to the healthcare they need.
“Many blinded and catastrophically disabled veterans do not travel to VA’s specialty rehabilitation centers for care because, while they are eligible for specialty rehabilitation services, they cannot afford the travel costs associated with accessing this care,” said Brownley. “Because of the high cost of travel, too many blinded and catastrophically disabled veterans go without proper treatment, develop increasingly worse health conditions, and face even higher long-term medical costs.”
“This bill will assist America’s blinded veterans in rehabilitation, leading to a more productive life,” said Glenn Minney, Director of Government Relations for the Blinded Veterans Association. “There’s been 157,000 blind and low-vision injuries over the past 12 years, and this is going to help the newly-blind as well as our aging veteran population.”
“Those veterans with catastrophic disabilities have the greatest need for health care services and this legislation will ensure that travel does not remain a barrier to that care,” said Carl Blake, Associate Executive Director of Government Relations for the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). “This bill is a high priority for PVA’s members.”
Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is required to cover the cost of transportation for veterans requiring medical care for service-connected injuries. The Veterans Medical Access Act would extend these travel benefits to a veteran with vision impairment, a veteran with a spinal cord injury or disorder, or a veteran with double or multiple amputations whose travel is in connection with care provided through a special disabilities rehabilitation program of the VA.
The bill text is attached here: LINK