Thompson Supports Legislation to Reform Dept. of Veteran Affairs Health Care System

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-5) voted to support H.R. 3230, the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act.

The House passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by a vote of 420 to 5. The bill is expected to pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Obama.

“This afternoon the House passed bipartisan legislation that will begin the process of reforming the Veterans Health Administration and instituting great accountability across our veteran health care system,” stated Thompson.

“The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act will afford our veterans greater and more timely access to cost effective care services while bringing necessary changes to the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, this is just the first step, and more needs to be done.”

“Being the father of an Army soldier and having worked for 30 years as a health care practitioner, my heart broke when I first heard of the disturbing revelations of misconduct and dysfunction at the VA,” Thompson added. 

“While today we moved one step closer to restoring the trust of our veterans, our work to fulfill the commitments we have made to these brave men and women has only just begun.”

“I want to thank the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees for their steadfast commitment to overcoming political differences and finding common ground on this important piece of legislation,” said Thompson.

Following revelations in spring 2014 of veteran mistreatment and reports of widespread mismanagement at VA hospitals, Thompson initiated meetings with VA hospitals serving the 5thDistrict, including a visit to Erie VA Hospital, in Erie.

Summary of H.R. 3230:

  • Access To Care Provisions: Bill allows veterans to obtain health care at non-VA facilities if they live more than 40 miles from a VA clinic or can’t get an appointment at a VA clinic within 30 days. Also allows leases for 27 new VA facilities.
  • Veterans Choice Card Provisions: The bill institutes a “Veterans Choice Card,” which would be presented to non-VA health care providers to prove the veteran’s eligibility to receive VA-reimbursed medical services.
  • More Health Care Professionals:The bill authorizes nearly $5 billion to increase the number of doctors, nurses, and health care professionals at the VA – especially in primary and specialty care.
  • Accountability Provisions: The bill authorizes the VA secretary to fire or demote VA Senior Executive Service employees based on their performance or misconduct, providing for a limited appeals process during which the employee would not be paid.
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