Walz Supports VA Reform Compromise
Bipartisan Reform Legislation Increases Access to Care by Allowing Certain Veterans to See Private Doctors and Authorizes VA to Hire More Doctors, Nurses and Lease 27 New Facilities Across the Country
Washington, DC [7/28/14] – Today, Representatives Tim Walz (D-MN), a Member of the VA Reform Conference Committee and highest ranking enlisted soldier to ever serve in Congress, announced his support for the bipartisan conference committee compromise to reform the VA and increase access to care for veterans.
“When this conference committee began, our number one goal was to produce legislation that put veterans first; legislation that would increase access to care, reduce long wait times at VA hospitals, give the VA Secretary greater authority to hold employees accountable, and reform the broken system at VA,” Representative Walz said. “While the bill isn’t perfect, it does provide real solutions to help veterans and their families. I urge both chambers of Congress to swiftly pass this bipartisan legislation and send it to the President for his signature. ”
Walz continued, “That being said, our work is far from finished. As we move forward we must continue to work diligently to hold VA accountable and ensure the bill is being implemented promptly and properly. Our veterans deserve nothing less.”
The bipartisan VA reform compromise:
- Increases health care choices and access to care for veterans by expanding the ability of veterans to see private doctors for care if a veteran resides more than 40 miles away from a VA facility or if they are forced to wait longer than one month to see a VA doctor.
- Authorizes the VA to lease and create 27 new major medical facilities across the country to increase access to care for veterans within the VA health care system.
- Ensures private providers receive prompt payment and reimbursement from the VA for care provided to veterans.
- Authorizes VA to hire badly needed doctors and nurses and expands the loan-repayment program for health care professionals who choose a career caring for veterans at VA
- Expands eligibility for counseling and treatment for sexual trauma survivors
- Holds incompetent and dishonest VA employees accountable by granting the Secretary the ability to immediately fire these employees.
- Ends the practice of tying bonuses to scheduling and wait-times metrics.