The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing Tuesday, May 21, on U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross's (FL-15) bill, the Veterans Timely Access to Health Care Act. This legislation would ensure that Veterans seeking primary and specialty care from a Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility will receive an appointment within 30 days. Ross will testify at the hearing.
"Our Veterans have sacrificed so much for our country -- the least we could do is ensure that they receive timely access to health care," said Ross. "I want to thank the committee for looking closely at this critical legislation that would guarantee that Veterans' medical needs no longer slip through the cracks of the system."
Florida Veteran population estimates as of September 30, 2011 (the most recent information), produced by the VA Office of the Actuary: 1,617,248 Floridians
Background on the bill:
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has set targeted goals of providing both primary and specialty care appointments for veterans.
Contrary to efficiency reports produced by the VA, significant problems continue to exist. For example, the VA Inspector General calculated that the number of days between a veteran's initial mental health exam and their full mental health evaluation fail to meet the VA's goal more than 50 percent of the time. In contrast, the VA published 2012 statistics that claim 84 percent of new specialty care appointments were completed within the goal timeframe.
The Veterans Timely Access to Health Care Act, requires the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit a series of reports to Congress to provide an assessment of their Department meeting the standard.
Congress can use the information provided in the reports to help craft policy to support the needs of veterans.