How Long Will VA Sit on its Hands While Our Heroes Suffer and Wait?
Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) sent a letter to the Secretary of the Veterans Administration, demanding answers on why, more than a year after a major VA overhaul was passed by Congress and signed into law, the VA has still not implemented a key portion of the law, the Veterans Choice Program.
Through the Veterans Choice Program, service men and women can receive vital home care services that are critical to follow-up care and medication adherence assistance, especially for disabled veterans and those without access to transportation. Yet local VA facilities are still refusing to work with new providers to get veterans the care they need.
“My conversations with the VA have yielded only excuses,” said Rep. Hultgren in a speech delivered on the House floor. “Our vets deserve results. How many veterans are waiting for physician visits? How can the VA sit on its hands while our nation’s veterans wait and suffer? I ask my colleagues to join me—let’s be a voice for our veterans and implore the VA to give these heroes access to and reimbursement for the care they need and deserve.”
In his letter to the VA Secretary, Rep. Hultgren writes: “To me, it seems as if the VA is simply obstructing home care services for veterans either illegally, indolently, or both…If ‘the VA is determined to provide exceptional, high-quality care and services for our veterans,’ as you said in your initial response letter to me, why aren’t you following through on your promise to these men and women and promptly addressing this issue?”
Rep. Hultgren has consistently stood up for veterans in Congress:
- Since the Veterans Health Administration scandal broke in 2014, he has visited and met with leadership at the Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, and demanded action for Illinois veterans whose healthcare needs may have been neglected or ignored at VA facilities.
- He has convened VA representatives in Illinois to meet with local veterans to be held accountable for delays and mismanagement of care.
- He cosponsored the Veterans Timely Access to Health Care Act (H.R. 241) to ensure veterans can get access to care within 30 days of original contact with the VA.
- He has introduced legislation, the Protecting Veterans Credit Act (H.R. 5593), to protect the credit rating of veterans and prevent them from unnecessary financial hardship due to delayed payments associated with the Veterans Choice Program. VA errors in payment can make it more difficult and more expensive for veterans to buy a home or car, rent a place to live or be hired for a new job.
- He supported House passage of the Hire More Heroes Act, a bill he cosponsored which passed the House overwhelmingly and encourages small businesses to hire veterans by providing relief from the Affordable Care Act’s burdensome employer mandate.
- He co-sponsored the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2015 (H.R. 969), a bill which enables eligible veterans members who served in the territorial seas of Vietnam during the Vietnam War to receive VA health benefits from diseases linked to Agent Orange.