Monday, 20 August, 2018

President Trump Signs VA Mission Act, Valley Resident Present At Ceremony

President Donald Trump has signed a bill into law that will expand private care for veterans as an alternative to the troubled Veterans Affairs health system PROMISE KEPT: Trump Signs VETERANS ACT to Expand Healthcare
Ben Pena | 09 June, 2018, 12:54

President Donald Trump signed the VA Mission Act of 2018 which is created to expand healthcare access for veterans.

It also had the support of Concerned Veterans for America, a conservative group that has grown influential in the Trump administration.

The measure builds on legislation passed in 2014 in response to a wait-time scandal at the Phoenix VA medical center, where some veterans died while waiting months for appointments.

"If the VA can't meet the needs of a veteran in a timely manner, that veteran will have the right to go right outside to a private doctor", the President said.

"On the anniversary of D-Day, we're reminded of the sacrifices of our courageous veterans and that we owe our service members a debt that can never be repaid".

While residents in East Tennessee have the Mountain Home Veterans Affairs Hospital in Johnson City and community clinics in places such as Morristown and Knoxville, veterans in other parts of the country have to drive hours to obtain health care services from the VA, Roe said. "Our veterans fought for our freedoms, they shouldn't have to fight the system to receive the care they need and deserve".

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"Now that the VA MISSION Act has been signed into law, we will work tirelessly to ensure that this legislation is implemented properly, and that the VA Comprehensive Family Caregiver Program is made available to veterans who served prior to 9/11 as swiftly as possible". The House voted 347-70 in favor of the bill and the Senate voted 92-5, sending the bill to the White House.

The legislation will give veterans access to private care when they have endured lengthy wait times or the treatment was not what they had expected.

The VA Mission Act aims to develop a high-performance integrated care network by establishing a new community care program, improving physician payment processes, developing education resources for veterans seeking care, and setting patient safety guidelines for opioid prescriptions. This choice provides flexibility for veterans to use the VA or private sector health providers.

"I was proud to stand alongside President Trump today as he signed into law the VA MISSION ACT which has been one of my top priorities on the VA Committee since taking office". Many local veterans say it's about time. Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota, the House Veterans' Affairs Committee's ranking Democrat, described a "stark picture of a VA forced to cannibalize itself in order to pay for private care", with potential funding cuts to investments in buildings, direct patient care, suicide prevention, medical research and job training. The care will be judged by its timeliness, effectiveness, safety, and efficiency.

The VA system structure is now based on the way medical services were provided from the 1960s to the 1980s, he said.

"You shouldn't have to ask Congress every year for money to take care of veterans, said John Hoellwarth, communications director for AMVETS, one of the country's major veterans groups". That overhaul will take at least 10 years to be complete.

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