Idaho Congressmen Mike Simpson is a cosponsor of legislation that will improve access to medical care for rural veterans.
HR 1527, The Rural Veterans Access to Care Act, authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow veterans living in highly rural areas to receive covered services through non-VA providers. The bill defines a highly rural veteran as one who lives 60 miles from VA primary care services, 120 miles from the nearest VA facility providing acute hospital care, or more than 240 miles from the nearest VA facility providing tertiary care will be eligible. This will prevent rural veterans from having to travel great distances to visit the VA center and allow them instead to be able to receive primary health care in their own community.
Simpson stressed the importance of this legislation to veterans who are unable to travel long distances for medical care. "Under the current system, many of Idaho's rural veterans have to travel long distances to visit their nearest VA medical facility," Simpson said. "Because many of our veterans are elderly and unable to make the trip on a regular basis, they have trouble receiving needed medical care. This bill will allow veterans to receive care close to home, in their own communities."
HR 1527 has been approved by the House Veterans Affairs Committee and is currently awaiting consideration on the House floor.