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Congressman Randy Hultgren

Representing the 14th District of ILLINOIS

VA Taking Steps to Improve Payment Turnaround Time for Community Providers

Jan 5, 2018
Press Release
Financial Services Committee to Consider Delaney-Hultgren Legislation Next Week to Protect Veterans Credit Ratings from Slow Payments

Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) welcomed actions by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) this week to improve the timeliness of payments to community providers of VA healthcare. Rep. Hultgren previously led a letter to VA Secretary Shulkin requesting an explanation for these delayed payments, with a particular concern for veterans who may have had adverse credit actions taken against them due to their participation in the Veterans Choice Program. Rep. Hultgren has been pushing for full implementation of the program since 2016.

Reps. Hultgren, John Delaney (D-MD-06) and 22 other Members of Congress have introduced legislation, H.R.2683, the Protecting Veterans Credit Act of 2017, to ensure that veterans’ credit scores and credit reports are not adversely affected by delayed VA medical payments. The Financial Services Committee has scheduled a hearing Tuesday including this legislation and testimony from the American Legion.

“Delayed VA payments to medical providers have led to a host of problems, including adverse effects on the credit scores of veterans. I am glad the VA is taking our concerns seriously and taking a broad approach to ensure providers of VA care get reimbursed for the care they provide, and veterans are held innocent of bureaucratic clumsiness,” said Rep. Hultgren. “Legislation is still needed to protect veterans’ credit scores from poor performance by the VA and its contractors. I urge the House to take up and pass the Protecting Veterans Credit Act to ensure our veterans get the care they need without their credit scores becoming collateral damage.”

According to the VA, the agency will immediately take short and long-term actions to improve payments to community providers. Short-term actions include creating rapid response teams to work on the ground with these providers to reach financial settlement within 90 days, and increasing the number of claims processed by vendors by 300 percent in January 2018 and by 600 percent in April 2018. Long-term actions include deploying IT improvements to streamline the claims submission and payment process to reduce time for payments significantly, award new contracts to establish the new Community Care Network that includes elements designed to ensure prompt payment of claims, work with Congress to consolidate and simplify all VA community care programs and ensure transparency with VA’s claims processing performance by publishing VA’s claims processing timeliness on a monthly basis.

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