Nov 01 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) joined U.S. Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Mark Begich (D-Ala.) – Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Members – in introducing legislation to expand emergency care treatment reimbursement eligibility for veterans.
“Veterans who have served our nation with duty and honor deserve access to quality health care when they need it,” Senator Moran said. “They should not be forced to bear the burden of emergency health care costs simply because of exorbitant VA waiting times to see a doctor. As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am committed to improving access to care for Kansas veterans. This legislation will provide veterans with the emergency care they deserve.”
Current law prohibits the VA from reimbursing emergency room care at non-VA facilities for veterans who haven’t received care at a VA clinic or hospital within the past two years. Veterans who have recently returned from deployment or live in rural communities often can’t meet this requirement as a result of extensive wait times for scheduling VA facility appointments. This legislation would waive the two-year requirement and allow our nation’s heroes to be reimbursed for emergency medical care at non-VA facilities.
The VA estimates this bill would provide access to medical treatment for 144,000 veterans across the country. The VA requested statutory authority, granted in this bill, in its FY2014 budget request and has also set aside funds for the change. Additionally, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the VA funding level, which covers the cost of the emergency care legislation.
This bipartisan bill is endorsed by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.