President Trump signed into law an extension of the Veterans Affairs Choice Card program on Wednesday, the precursor to a planned massive overhaul of the initiative later this year. The Choice Card program, created by Congress in the wake of VA’s 2014 wait time problems, is one of several programs for veterans to seek medical care outside VA medical centers. Veterans who face lengthy wait times for medical appointments or live more than 40 miles from VA facilities can use the available funds to seek …Read More »
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said he hopes to have a replacement for the controversial Choice Card program before Congress by this fall, a move that would give lawmakers just a few months of debate before the current program runs out. President Trump is scheduled to sign legislation extending the Choice program past August until the end of 2017, when funding for those services are expected to run out.
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Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and other veteran organizations have emphasized that decisions about how to strengthen and reform the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system need to be addressed by Congress this year. Central to that debate will be designing a system that creates new options for veterans who currently have access challenges, while not reducing access or quality for vets who rely on the VA for most or all of their care. Veteran healthcare “choice” options are a key factor that need to be …Read More »
Every day, lawmakers in Washington, D.C. make decisions on important issues impacting the health and welfare of veterans, yet only 18.7 percent of Congress and 1 percent of their staff members have served in the military. HillVets and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) have partnered in a program that will bring more vets to Capitol Hill through a fellowship program. Having staff members who served in the military and understand how policy and legislation will affect veterans can provide valuable insight for lawmakers.
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House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairmen sent a joint letter to President Trump regarding the Federal hiring freeze, saying that one of our government’s highest priorities is to provide timely, high-quality care to the men and women who have bravely served our nation in uniform, and that a robust clinical workforce is vital to achieving that goal. Subsequently, the Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary announced that the VA has exemptions to the hiring freeze that enable VA to fill essential positions and ensure that veterans …Read More »
Members of the 115th Congress began introducing a deluge of legislation regarding veterans, including bills aimed at extending benefits to Blue Water Navy veterans, revoking bonuses paid to VA employees, and expanding the rules of concurrent receipt of retired and VA disability pay.
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In 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs faces an array of decisions related to the herbicide Agent Orange, which contained the toxic chemical dioxin and was used to kill vegetation during the Vietnam War. The VA must decide whether to add new diseases to its list of conditions presumed to be linked to Agent Orange. It also faces calls to compensate naval veterans and veterans who served along the Korean demilitarized zone . Additionally, Congress passed a bill requiring VA to pay for analysis of …Read More »
Congress has approved full-year funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, a significant achievement in support of veterans. As the Veterans of Foreign Wars national commander said, “we are glad that Congress agreed and acted on full-year appropriations for the VA, which will allow it to properly plan and execute its numerous programs to better serve wounded, ill and injured veterans, as well as their families and survivors.”
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The Commission on Care was established to help improve the access of veterans to medical services from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The President’s formal response to the Commission on Care Report has been sent to Congress. Secretary of the VA Robert McDonald has released a formal statement on the report and on the President’s final assessment.
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