Sen. Sanders and Rep. Miller compromise on Veterans’ bill

downloadAfter six weeks of negotiation, and four days before recess,  it appears as if we will be soon  be seeing details of the new veterans’ bill.  This provision as reported in the Washington Post,  gets a thumbs up from me:

According to a draft summary of the measure provided by House aides, Congress would give eligible military veterans a “Veterans Choice Card” and allow them to seek health care outside the VA medical system from Medicare-eligible providers, other federally qualified health centers or facilities operated by the Defense Department or federal Indian Health Service centers….

Veterans eligible to seek care outside the system would need to be enrolled by Aug. 1, or enroll for VA care within five years of ending their military service in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the draft agreement. A veteran could leave the VA system if they’re unable to receive an appointment within 14 days — the current VA wait-time goal, or if they live more than 40 miles from a VA facility.

Kiedove update (Tuesday noon):  To read Sander’s website updates from Monday night scroll down for the bill summary and bill.  This summary says a 30-day wait period for non-VA care which is different from what the WP reported earlier.  The conference committee report gives more information.  This gives more information about the 40-mile rule which has some exceptions.   C-span has video. 

We’ll have to stayed tuned to see what was decided. Check it out- Update.

Editor’s note. Be prepared to see the VA definition of a mile revamped to measure 10,560 feet from it’s current 5,280 feet. Either that or the new metric will measure it directly as the crow flies. In fact, if you had an F-15, you’d be there by now.h2-name-sign-n'bound-large


About Laura

NW Vermont.
This entry was posted in Guest authors, VAMC Scheduling Coverup and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Sen. Sanders and Rep. Miller compromise on Veterans’ bill

  1. RickB says:

    I’ve used VA Medical Facilities for over 28 years, in 7 different states. There were a few times I wanted to choke a desk clerk or an administrator, but for the most part I was content with the medical care they provided. My disabilities add up to 250 in simple math, VA math 100%. I am retired Army, and I do have Tricare for Life , and use Darnell Medical Center on Fort Hood from time to time, I also have Medicare. So I can get medical care just about anywhere with no out of pocket cost. I live just over 40 miles from the closest VA Medical Center, I chose to use the VA, because all of my medical issues are service connected, and I require wheelchairs, hearing aids, glasses, leg braces and a host of other medical items. The new law does not take into consideration that some veterans who need services other than primary care, can’t get the other services outside the VA system unless we pay for them which in my case would ruin my finances. I get $22.00 travel pay each time I go to the VA which averages 3 times a month sometimes more. I don’t mind the ride to the VA. Now $22.00 a trip isn’t much, but it buys lunch for me and the wife. I figure if I used a private doctor, my cost for transport would be about the same with no reimbursement. For some this new law will help, especially those that are a long way from a VA facility. For others, it doesn’t change anything, and for vets like me that have serious medical problems it only takes care of part of the problem. By the way, this law is only for three years or whenever the money runs out, which ever is first. More important your local VA will decide who can take advantage of the law. Overall, it does nothing to improve the Health care at the VA, and doesn’t improve anything in the long run.

  2. hepper74 says:

    “There are other claims awaiting adjudication sir and I’ll thank you to stop bugging us here at the RO concerning your piddly little claim wait time”. Sound familiar? I sent them a NOD in Feb 2013 and they have yet to get anything moving as of today. The news about the civilian doctors is good news at least. I’ll give it one thumb up and perhaps another unmentioned digit as well.

    • Kiedove says:

      Re: civilian doctors. I’m wondering if vets living 40 miles away will be sent a “Veterans’ Choice Card” or will have to apply for one. And, of course, how long it will take.

    • RickB says:

      reference your NOD, I have a nod in the system since 2011….. and it still hasn’t been forwarded to the BVA…..

  3. mark says:

    I do not use the Crappy VA, all ready have medicare, 40 miles each way is 80 miles, that sucks, I can drive 10 miles now to see a doctor, Why would I drive the extry miles to get Crappy Care CC,
    VA should let any VET use what ever Doctor WE want, THEY want US to use the VA so THEY can keep a EYE on US.

    • Kiedove says:

      You are correct in pointing out that having to drive 80 miles R/T is onerous in many cases but for those not on Medicare, and not being able to afford a ACA private insurance health insurance plan, may have no choice to get care.

      And remember, some VA hospitals are doing a good job and veterans are satisfied with their care. In the private hospital sector, awful things happen too. For example, a man’s penis was amputated at Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Alabama. He went in for a circumcision and they cut his penis off and the urology doctors call his lawsuit without merit. How insane and disgusting is that?

      • mark says:

        That would SUCK

      • squidlyOne says:

        I have to drive 200 miles round trip. They mentioned using geo-disc in the Bill which is as the crow flys. The services here are so so, typical of bargain basement healthcare. After 3 attempts my new glasses sit in the drawer. I would like to go to a private provider that is much closer but in my state I’m not going to hold my breath. They don’t care about Vets here. They say they do, but when the rubber meets the road they go the other way.

        “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

        ― George W. Bush

        • mark says:

          When I lived in Northern Cal, we only had a really crappy out pat clinic, if you needed any real care it was a 120 mile one way trip to SF plus 7.00 bridge toll, it took near 3 hrs one way, when you got there After your Appt, you had to wait in a hour line to get your travel pay, Try that when your stage 4 Hep C, I use to stay overnight I could not make the drive back the same day, sometimes I would stay in my van and sleep in the parking lot, try that in down town Sanfranciso, it Sucked. I understood then that THEY do not give a Shit about US, and I think THEY NEVER will.

  4. Kiedove says:

    SO there probably will be some fuzzy math going on around the magic number 40. –I think we’re calculated as 38 miles fastest route to Minn. VA. so spouse may not get the coveted Veterans’ Choice Card. But our son in VT won’t have to travel 70 miles to White River Junction to see a specialist. That’s terrific. And the VA will save mega bucks on travel. Bernie, you done good…

  5. WGM says:

    The Bill has been approved and passed.

  6. Frank says:

    “Lawmakers are wary of returning home to face their constituents without having taken action to speed up the long wait times in the VA system. The wait times became a national scandal after reports that veterans died while waiting for care.”

    What will it take to get the “wait times” for disability claims/appeals to become a national scandal? Or is that veterans are *not* dying while waiting for claims/appeals decisions?

    Read more:
    Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.