U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines introduced legislation to expand and protect Montana veterans’ access to care in their local communities.
“Montana veterans have served and sacrificed for our state and nation – the VA needs to ensure that serving our veterans with the highest quality of care is at the core of everything they do. I am glad to help protect Montana veterans’ access to health care in their communities,” Daines said.
The “Protecting Veteran Community Care Act” strengthens the existing community care program, limits the VA’s ability to restrict access to care in the community, and requires the VA to track relevant community care data and provide those statistics to Congress.
Specifically, this legislation would
- Amend the MISSION Act to specifically include inpatient mental health standards.
- Adds clarity to veteran eligibility for care in the community.
- Increases community health care options for toxic exposed veterans.
- Requires the VA to track and present to Congress data on how veterans are requesting and using community care, along with what services community care funds are paying for.
- Requires passage of a Joint Resolution in both chambers of Congress to modify community care eligibility.
The 2018 VA MISSION Act was a landmark piece of legislation that overhauled the VA Choice Program to provide veterans with improved access to healthcare. Unfortunately, the VA has failed to live up to its obligation to provide timely care through the community. Veterans are still facing unacceptably long waiting periods and frequently rescheduled appointments. The VA continues to fall short on the complete and proper implementation of the MISSION Act. This has resulted in the need for Congress to strengthen existing authorities to ensure that the VA isn’t restricting care in the community for veterans who need it most.