U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15) introduced the Veterans Timely Access to Health Care Act yesterday in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation will ensure that veterans seeking primary and specialty care from a Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility will receive an appointment within 30 days.
"We owe a debt of gratitude to those who serve in our armed forces," said Ross. "It is unconscionable that these same men and women who have put their lives on the line for us often wait more than a month to receive access to medical care from a VA facility. I introduced this bill so that our veterans will receive the timely care that they deserve."
- 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.
- In the case that the VA does not meet the 30 day requirement set in the Veterans Timely Access to Health Care Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs will 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.
- The bill number is H.R. 241.