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JWV Commends the Passage of VA Reform Bill
The Jewish War Veterans of the United States commends Congress and the President on the recently passed bill to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This legislation is just the first step in fixing the abuses which have caused VA to fail, and will provide the basis upon which Congress can continue to address the VA’s concerning lack of budget.
Now comes the vital step of funding in order to hire more health care providers to increase its ability to provide high-quality health care to veterans. An independent third party can evaluate the current function of each VA medical facility, and authorize additional VA medical leases that are essential in order to expand care capacity to provide housing for veterans struggling with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), thus extending the TBI treatment program.
The measure requires $10 billion for veterans to receive health care outside of the VA by allowing those who have had to wait more than 30 days for an appointment with the VA, or who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility, to seek private care. Additionally, the legislation will increase access to VA medical care by creating 27 medical facilities in 18 states and Puerto Rico.
The legislation will also improve the care for veterans who experienced sexual trauma while serving in the military, as well as expanded benefits and scholarships for surviving spouses. We applaud the bill’s creation of an expedited appeals process that would prevent political firings or retaliation against whistle blowers, in addition to removing VA executives accused of severe misconduct.
While the bill provides the VA with additional resources to deal with this crisis, and addresses the urgent need for additional staffing, we remain adamant that Congress continue its efforts to repair the VA and improve veteran’s access to good health care.