The Senate last night voted 93-3 to pass legislation (H.R. 3230) that builds on a House-passed bill to improve veterans' access to care. Like the House bill (H.R. 4810), the Senate bill would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer care from a civilian health care provider at the department's expense to any veteran enrolled in the VA health system who cannot get an appointment within the department's current wait-time goals, or who lives more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility. Payment for care provided by a non-VA facility could not exceed Medicare rates. The House-passed bill would pay non-VA providers who are not under an existing VA contract at the rate set by the VA, Tricare or Medicare, whichever is greatest. Among other provisions, the Senate bill includes $500 million for the VA to hire additional health care professionals and an estimated $1.4 billion for the department to lease 26 medical facilities. Congress next will try to reconcile the differences between the two bills.
This document was issued by AHA - American Hospital Association and was initially posted at www.ahanews.com. It was distributed, unedited and unaltered, by noodls on 2014-06-13 04:32:37. The original document issuer is solely responsible for the accuracy of the information contained therein.