Reed Cosponsors Bill to Give Veterans More Health Care Flexibility
Tom Reed voted Tuesday in support of the Veterans Access to Care Act, a bipartisan bill that requires the VA to offer non-VA care to enrolled veterans who experience extensive wait times or live more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility. Reed, a co-sponsor of the bill, says that regardless of where veterans live, they deserve timely care close to home.
“Delays at VA facilities across the country are intolerable and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t act now to give veterans greater flexibility to receive care,” Reed said. “Wherever veterans live, it’s only fair they have access to timely care. If the VA is unable to provide that care, veterans need the flexibility to seek that care elsewhere.”
The Veterans Access to Care Act would require the VA to offer non-VA care at the department’s expense for enrolled veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility or are not able to get an appointment within the VA wait time goal (currently 14 days). The bill also bans bonuses for all VA employees from Fiscal Years 2014-2016 and builds in a number of accountability measures, including requiring the VA to submit a quarterly report on usage of non-VA care.
“Veterans at home and across the country are suffering daily from delays, poor service and neglect,” Reed said. “This bill puts veterans and their health needs before VA managers and bureaucrats and gives them the flexibility and accountability they deserve. While much work remains to fix a broken VA system, this is a step in the right direction to provide immediate help.”
When news broke of the care delays in Phoenix, Reed moved to hold VA managers accountable, voting in support of the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act to give the secretary of the VA a greater ability to remove employees from the VA based on poor performance.
“Those found responsible for poor performance need to be held accountable, regardless of their position,” Reed said of the bill. “The VA is responsible for the care of thousands of our nation’s veterans – it is only fair those whose performance isn’t up to par be removed. This country’s heroes deserve the absolute best care possible.”