WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies – today applauded Senate passage of S.2372, The John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka, and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks, or VA MISSION Act, of 2018, by a vote of 92-5. The VA MISSION Act improves, expands and modernizes the VA Choice program. Following passage, Sen. Moran released the following statement:
“I’m proud the Senate overwhelmingly supported this legislation that empowers our veterans and provides our nation’s heroes with the timely and quality healthcare they deserve. It has been an honor to work alongside my friend and colleague Senator John McCain to reform access to community care in the VA and to provide greater choice for veterans. Named after Senator McCain, the VA MISSION Act includes provisions we have both pursued to establish access and quality standards for veteran eligibility to care in the community and strategic planning to improve the VA’s integrated healthcare system. I look forward to the president signing this bill as we celebrate Memorial Day.”
Items to note:
- Sen. Moran yesterday spoke on the Senate floor in support of the VA MISSION Act.
- Sen. Moran and Sen. McCain priorities included in the VA MISSION Act can be found under Sections 101, 104, 106, 108, 111, 131 and 132.
- Section 101: Establishing Veterans Choice & Community Care Program
- Establishes the Veterans Community Care Program, which will consolidate all community care authorities into a single cohesive program to deliver hospital care, medical services and extended care services to veterans in their communities.
- Section 104: Access Standards and Standards for Quality
- Implements data-driven access standards to inform veterans about their eligibility for community care, and improves veterans’ ability to compare care at the VA and other federal facilities with care at community hospitals.
- Section 106: Strategy for High-Performing Integrated Health Care Network
- Requires the VA to conduct market assessments that identify veteran demand for health care and capacity to deliver care at the VA or in the community. This provision also requires the VA to develop and implement a reoccurring strategic plan to create a high-performing integrated health care network at the VA.
- Section 108: Protecting Veterans from Unsafe & Unfit Providers
- Protects veterans seeking care in the community from being treated by a provider who was fired, suspended, or had his or her license revoked by the VA or violated the requirements of his or her medical license.
- Section 111: Prompt Payment to Providers
- Establishes and requires publication of regulations for a prompt payment process that will obligate the VA to pay for, or deny payment for, community providers’ services within a set timeframe after receipt of a claim.
- Section 131: Ensuring Safe Opioid Prescribing
- Ensures that contracted providers review evidence-based guidelines and make certain the VA shares with community care providers the relevant medical history of veteran patients to guide the prescription of opioids through the community care program. It will also make the VA responsible for coordinating the prescription of opioids.
- Section 132: Improving Information Sharing With Community Providers
- Clarifies that the VA can share records with non-department providers for the purpose of delivering care and enhancing the VA’s ability to recover funds from other responsible third parties.
Timeline of Sen. Moran’s work on the Veterans Choice Program:
June 3, 2014: Sen. Moran joined Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to introduce the Veterans Choice Act.
June 11, 2014: The Senate passed Sen. Moran’s legislation to establish the Veterans Choice Program.
August 7, 2014: The Veterans Choice Program was signed into law by President Barack Obama.
December 15, 2014: Sen. Moran introduced legislation to improve the Veteran Choice Program’s 40-mile eligibility rule.
January 22, 2015: Sen. Moran spoke on the Senate floor regarding his legislation to improve the Choice Program’s 40-mile rule.
February 26, 2015: Sen. Moran questioned VA Secretary McDonald about flawed implementation of Choice Program.
May 22, 2015: Senate unanimously passed Sen. Moran’s legislation to improve 40-mile Choice Act eligibility criteria.
July 23, 2015: Sen. Moran expressed concern with VA budget shortfall in Community Care accounts.
December 2, 2015: Sen. Moran urged VA Deputy Secretary Gibson to improve Choice Act implementation.
March 7, 2016: Sen. Moran joined Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) to introduce the Veterans Choice Improvement Act.
January 20, 2017: Sen. Moran urged President Donald Trump to work with Congress to improve the Veterans Choice Program
January 24, 2017: Sen. Moran was selected as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.
February 1, 2017: Sen. Moran pressed VA Secretary nominee Shulkin on Choice Program eligibility criteria.
March 8, 2017: Sen. Moran joined Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to introduce legislation to improve and extend the Veterans Choice Program.
April 3, 2017: The Senate passed legislation to preserve the Veterans Choice Program.
April 19, 2017: The Veterans Choice Improvement Act was signed into law. Sen. Moran and Sen. McCain authored an op-ed on the Veterans Choice Program, “A great day for veterans and Veterans Choice.”
June 7, 2017: Sen. Moran questioned Secretary Shulkin on the Choice Program at Veterans Affairs Committee hearing.
June 21, 2017: Sen. Moran convened hearing with Secretary Shulkin and questioned Choice budget shortfall and VA’s recent changes to Choice Program; sent letter to Secretary Shulkin regarding financial mismanagement at the VA.
July 27, 2017: Sen. Moran spoke on Senate floor urging colleagues to pass legislation to fund the Veterans Choice Program and fix the budget shortfall.
August 2, 2017: Sen. Moran voted for additional funding to maintain the Veterans Choice Program.
October 24, 2017: Sen. Moran discussed the importance of the Veterans Choice Program with President Trump during a Senate policy meeting.
December 4, 2017: Sen. Moran and Sen. McCain introduced legislation to reform the VA into a 21st century healthcare system, integrating VA services and VA community care programs to increase veterans’ access to timely, quality care.
December 15, 2017: Sen. Moran and Sen. McCain authored the op-ed, “Health Care for Veterans Needs Another Big Fix,” explaining the fundamental problems with the VA they sought to fix with their legislation.
January 17, 2018: Sen. Moran questioned Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin about the implementation of access standards for veterans to be eligible for community care under proposed Choice legislation.
April 3, 2018: Sen. Moran authored an op-ed, “Status Quo in VA Culture Shouldn’t Put Bureaucracy Ahead of Vets,” highlighting the need for strong leadership at the VA to implement critical reforms to VA healthcare and VA community care programs.
May 3, 2018: Sen. Moran worked to strengthen VA reform legislation, increasing Congressional oversight and modernizing the VA to provide the best possible care for veterans.
May 17, 2018: Sen. Moran honored Sen. McCain on the Senate floor and advocated for passage of legislation in his name to reform the VA.
May 22, 2018: Sen. Moran took to the Senate floor to share with his colleagues his top reasons to vote in favor of the VA MISSION Act.
May 23, 2018: Sen. Moran voted in favor of the VA MISSION Act on the Senate floor.