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ROSEN INTRODUCES BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE VETERANS CHOICE PROGRAM

January 11, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (NV-03) introduced the Veterans Deserve Better Act with Republican Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-03). This bipartisan legislation would improve access to quality health care for veterans who count on the Veterans Choice program. Congress established the Veterans Choice Program in 2014 in order to address long wait times at VA facilities and the inability of rural veterans living far from the closest VA clinic to get access to care. The program allows veterans facing longer than a 30-day wait time for an appointment, or who live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA facility, to receive medical care from a community provider.

“In Nevada and across the nation, our veterans are experiencing delays and difficulty in receiving the quality health care they deserve,” said Congresswoman Rosen. "It is shameful that we would fail to pay for care for our veterans in a timely manner. My bipartisan bill would help strengthen the Veterans Choice Program by requiring the VA to promptly reimburse non-VA health providers, so that our veterans are no longer forced to front the bill for their medical care. This legislation would reduce wait times for veterans by ensuring appointments be scheduled within five days and with greater accountability, and provide more information to help veterans utilize the Choice Program.”

“There is no doubt that our veterans deserve far better treatment than what they have been receiving,” said Congressman Jones. “That is why I am proud to join the Veterans Deserve Better Act, legislation that I am confident will help improve issues within the Veterans Choice Program. It is time we return efficiency and timeliness to the care our brave veterans are receiving.”

BACKGROUND: The Veterans Deserve Better Act, aims to improve veterans’ health care by reducing wait times for veterans by requiring that appointments through the Veterans Choice Program be made within five days and ensuring that veterans seeking care have the information they need in advance of scheduling an appointment. This bill would also require the VA to hold private contractors accountable for the care they schedule on behalf of veterans, and ensure reporting and follow-up of delayed appointments. Third, it will require prompt payment to Veterans Choice Program providers by requiring the VA to pay for or deny payment within 30 days of receiving an electronic claim or 45 days of receiving a paper claim.  It will also require the VA to pay, deny, or request additional information on any outstanding unpaid claims within 45 days of enactment. Delayed Veterans Choice Program billing has led to veterans experiencing adverse credit reporting and debt collection when they’ve been forced to front the bill due to delayed VA payments to Choice providers.

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