Congress moving to ensure speedier care for vets

WASHINGTON (AP) — United in response to a national uproar, Congress is suddenly moving quickly to address military veterans’ long waits for care at VA hospitals.

The House has unanimously approved legislation to make it easier for patients enduring lengthy delays for initial visits to get VA-paid treatment from local doctors instead. The Senate is poised to vote on a similar bill within 48 hours, according to Democratic leader Harry Reid.

The House bill and the Senate version would spend hundreds of millions of dollars to hire more doctors and nurses, but that may be easier said than done amid a nationwide shortage of primary care physicians.

The legislation comes close on the heels of a Veterans Affairs Department audit showing that more than 57,000 new applicants for care have had to wait at least three months for initial appointments. An additional 64,000 newly enrolled vets who requested appointments never got them.

%@AP Links

227-c-22-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent)-“VA health programs”-AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports the House bill passed by a unanimous vote of 426-to-nothing. (10 Jun 2014)


226-w-34-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent, with Representative Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman, House Veterans Affairs Committee)–The House has approved a bill to make it easier for veterans to get the care they need. AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports. (10 Jun 2014)


214-a-07-(Representative Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman, House Veterans affairs Committee, during debate)-“a national emergency”-House Veterans Affairs committee Chairman Jeff Miller says the country must provide better care to its veterans. (10 Jun 2014)


215-a-17-(Representative Mike Michaud, D-Maine, ranking Democrat, House Veterans affairs committee, during debate)-“and even months”-Congressman Mike Michaud says the wait for care is much too long. (10 Jun 2014)


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