Thousand Oaks, CA – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village), the ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health and a member of the VA conference committee, issued the following statement after the President signed the VA reform bill into law:
“I’m pleased the President signed the VA reform bill into law today. This legislation will provide much-needed additional resources to our veterans, including access, accountability, transparency, increased building capacity, and key provisions addressing military sexual trauma. While this bill does not address all of the problems at the VA, it is an important first step forward.
“This bipartisan conference agreement was possible because the conferees maintained focus and kept in mind that our mission was to ensure that veterans across the country receive timely access to the quality health care that they have earned and deserve.
“If you are a veteran who lives in my Congressional District and you need help setting up an appointment with the VA, or accessing your benefits, please contact my district office at (805) 379-1779.”
In addition to including all of the provisions regarding the treatment and care of survivors of MST the bill includes the following provisions:
- $10 billion for access to care provisions, also known as the Veterans Choice Fund
- $5 billion for hiring providers, purchasing equipment, and improving facilities
- Requires the VA to allow veterans to see a non-VA provider if they cannot get an appointment within the established wait time goal or if the veteran lives more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility
- Requires the prompt payment of non-VA providers
- Creates a new commission on Care that will look at all aspects of veteran healthcare and make recommendations on how to fix the system
- Requires the VA to get an independent assessment of its healthcare delivery systems and management processes
- Improves performance metrics and transparency
- Includes accountability measures, such as holding VA employees responsible and allowing the VA Secretary to fire senior executive service (SES) employees for poor performance or misconduct