President Obama has signed a plan to alleviate health care delays at Veteran Affairs facilities. The $16.3B plan is intended to clear months-long waiting lists that veterans have had to endure at associated hospitals and clinics.
At Fort Belvoir in Virginia, the president said, “”This bill will help us ensure that veterans have access to the care that they’ve earned. This will give the VA more of the resources that it needs. It will help the VA hire more doctors and more nurses and staff more clinics.”
The VA has taken steps to rectify the worst problems in reaching out to veterans in need. They’ve recently reached out to more than 217,000 veterans to pull them off of waiting lists and into medical facilities. The president also pointed out that the VA has taken steps to boost accountability and toughen whistleblower protections.
A reported $10B of that bill is dedicated to emergency spending and will thereby enable veterans to use private physicians at the department’s expense if they can’t get an appointment within 30 days. A senior administration official applauded the efforts to speed up veteran access to medical care, but noted that more improvements are necessary, saying, “Over the past several months the American people have been rightly outraged by stories of misconduct at some VA facilities across the country.”
Before he signed the bill, President Obama alluded to Congress’ inability to progress through legislation in a timely fashion or even confirm presidential nominees; upper-level positions remain unoccupied while nominees await confirmation.
Photo Credit: via flickr/Barack Obama
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