Today, the House passed the Veterans Access to Care Act of 2014 by a vote of 426 – 0. This bill would allow thousands of veterans who have been unable to access healthcare services through VA health system to obtain care at non-VA facilities. Congressman Kenny Marchant (TX-24) issued the following statement upon passage of the bill.
“According to a recent VA audit, 100,000 veterans throughout the country are currently being forced to endure excruciatingly long wait times for care, and over 57,000 of them are facing waits of 90 days or more for their first appointment. The VA has had the ability for years to offer care outside the system when its own facilities are incapable of providing the services required. As we can see from the massive number of people who still have not received care, the VA clearly failed to utilize this option when our veterans needed it most.
“The bill my colleagues and I unanimously passed today would take immediate steps to give thousands of veterans the relief they’ve been waiting for. The bill also demands that the VA conduct an independent assessment of the system to identify and correct the ongoing problems. The Senate needs to take up and pass this bill as soon as possible so that today’s veterans can get the care they deserve while we work to fix this broken system for the veterans of tomorrow.”
The Veterans Access to Care Act of 2014 (H.R. 4810) directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to enter contracts with non-VA facilities to provide care to veterans who have waited longer than 30 days for healthcare services, live 40 or more miles from a VA healthcare facility, or have been notified that an appointment will not be available within the VA’s wait-time goals.