Senate Passes Bipartisan Veterans Affairs Reform Legislation

Measure Will Increase Timely Access to Care, Address Doctor Shortage

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Senate today passed a bipartisan compromise to restore accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs and reduce wait times at VA facilities so veterans can get the health care they deserve.  The Veterans' Access to Care Through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 brings immediate accountability to the VA that will strengthen the Department's ability to fire senior managers and officials responsible for poor performance at VA health facilities. It also takes steps to reduce wait times and clear the backlog, including hiring more doctors and nurses in the VA system and providing expanded options for care for those veterans who live in rural areas or experience excessive wait times.

"Through months of hard work, Democrats and Republicans were able to come together to get veterans across the country the health care they need, when they need it" said Stabenow.  "No veteran should ever have to wait for months to get a doctor's appointment. This bipartisan legislation will help the VA hire more doctors and other health care professionals to give our brave men and women the high-quality health care they earned. I will continue to work with the community to make sure VA facilities are meeting the highest standards and veterans are getting the best of care."

The VA compromise bill provides the Department of Veterans Affairs with $17 billion to expand access to care for veterans in non-VA facilities and rural locations.  More specifically, this bill sets aside $5 billion to increase staffing needs at VA facilities and clinics, and $2 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs to lease 27 new medical facilities.  The bipartisan measure now heads to President Obama's desk for his signature.

For years, Senator Stabenow has led the fight to make sure that veterans get the care they need and bring veterans' health clinics to Michigan. New clinics have opened in Alpena, Bad Axe, Cadillac, Cheboygan County, Clare, and Grayling.