WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders, John McCain, Jeff Merkley, and Richard Burr to introduce The Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, bipartisan legislation to improve veterans’ access to health care and address serious problems facing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The bill will allow veterans to see private doctors outside the VA system if they experience long wait times or live more than 40 miles from a VA facility for a two year period, provide the VA Secretary authority to immediately dismiss poorly performing administrators and employees who manipulated wait-time data, and help the VA swiftly hire staff to decrease the scheduling backlog.
“After so many discouraging revelations of issues at the VA - including data released yesterday that revealed unacceptable wait times at VA centers in Virginia - I’m heartened that we were able to come together around a bipartisan compromise that will produce meaningful change for our veterans,” said Kaine. “By giving the VA tools to decrease wait times and hire needed staff, but also allowing veterans to receive private care if timely VA care isn’t available, we can help veterans at VA centers across the country receive the prompt treatment they have earned.”
The Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 is the third piece of legislation Kaine has introduced this month to increase accountability at the VA and ensure veterans receive prompt, high-quality care. Kaine spoke on the Senate floor last Thursday praising Sanders and McCain for reaching a bipartisan compromise.