Jun 10, 2014
Bills increase accountability and allow some Vets to use private hospital facilities
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) released the following statement after helping advance two bills out of the House of Representatives: H.R. 2072, the ‘Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act,’ to bring stronger accountability measures into place at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and H.R. 4810, the ‘Veterans Access to Care Act,’ aimed at reducing patient wait times for America’s veterans.
“The culture of complacency and mismanagement at the VA has gone on too long and needs to change – from the bottom to the top,” Rep. Peters said. “The idea that more than 57,000 new veterans are facing a three month wait to see a physician, or that 64,000 others have tried and failed to get appointments, is totally unacceptable.
“This week’s bills will bring more accountability at the VA and allow some veterans to utilize private hospitals or medical services when wait times are too long at their VA facility. But these steps cannot be the final actions; every member of Congress and every employee at the VA must remain committed to rooting out past failures and finding the necessary reforms to stop these egregious problems from continuing. Our veterans and their families kept their promises to America and it’s about time Washington got off the sidelines and got to work making real changes.”
Congressman Peters has actively advocated for San Diego’s veterans community since taking office last year. He introduced three pieces of legislation, the ‘Veterans Employment Transition (VETs) Act’ to provide a tax credit to employers who hire a veteran, the ‘21st Century Care for Military and Veterans Act’ to incorporate wireless medicine and telehealth technology into the VA Healthcare system, and the ‘Shelter our Servicemembers (SOS) Act’ to start a pilot program of non-transitional housing and wraparound services for elderly homeless veterans.
In addition, Rep. Peters coordinated with local veterans organizations, non-profits, and area military leaders to launch the Military Transition Support Project, which will provide servicemembers and their families with a central portal for information on benefits, housing, and employment services as they transition from active duty back to civilian life.
Last month, Congressman Peters voted for H.R. 4031, the ‘Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability Act,’ which gives the Secretary of Veterans Affairs more flexibility over the employment status of senior level officials. He also called on former VA Secretary Shinseki to resign when recent revelations of department incompetence came to light.