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VA Reform Bill Brings Optimism for Effective Change in VA Facilities

July 30, 2014

The Veterans Affairs (VA) reform bill that has been making its way through Congress may soon be passed, as legislators from both sides of the political playing field have finally come to some compromises about various aspects of this bill.

With many of the major elements of the VA reform bill no longer in debate, some legislators – including the bill’s backers Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Florida – are hopeful that the passage of this bill could come this week – before legislators take a 5-week summer recess.

The VA reform bill proposes various changes that could be beneficial for veterans in the future. Here’s a look at the proposed changes in this bill.

The VA reform bill proposes various changes that could be beneficial for veterans in the future. Here’s a look at the proposed changes in this bill.

Proposed Elements of New VA Reform Bill

Among the features of the New VA reform bill are the following:

  • The allowance for veterans who’ve been waiting more than 30 days for care or who live more than 40 miles away from a VA facility to get treated at a private doctor
  • The allotment of $10 billion in emergency funds that would cover veterans’ treatment at private medical facilities
  • Funding for at least 27 additional leases for new VA facilities throughout the U.S. (These will reportedly mostly be community clinics for veterans.)
  • Additional long-term funding to support the VA (Although testimony revealed that the VA may need as much as $17.3 billion for long-term funding, the final amount allotted has yet to be determined; however, it will likely be far less than $17.3 billion.)
  • Increased authority provided to VA managers when it comes to firing people (If this is granted through the VA reform bill, then fired VA employees will reportedly have the opportunity to appeal).

Additionally, the VA reform bill will reportedly provide access to in-state tuition for military service members, as well as their spouses, under the GI bill.

While these proposed changes and funding options seem like they could trigger some real, positive change in VA facilities throughout the U.S., it remains to be seen if this bill will ultimately be passed as it stands – and, if so, how these changes may play out in the real word clinical and VA hospital settings.

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