Veterans

August 8, 2014

Obama signs act to give VA new money, authorities

Tags:
Jim Garamone
DOD News

President Barack Obama signs the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act into law at Fort Belvoir, Va., Aug. 7, 2014.

President Barack Obama today signed into law the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 during a ceremony at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

The bill provides the Veterans Affairs Department with additional resources to improve access and quality of care for veterans.

The impetus for the act came from revelations of “inexcusable misconduct” at some VA health care facilities, the president said. Some VA hospitals were cooking the books, and veterans were denied care they had earned. “This is wrong,” the president said. “It’s outrageous.”

The act helps VA to fix these problems, the president said. “We’ve already taken the first steps to change the way the VA does business,” he added. “We’ve held people accountable for misconduct. Some have already been relieved of their duties, and investigations are ongoing.”

VA also has contacted more than 215,000 veterans to ensure they are getting off waiting lists and into clinics for medical care.

While the act also provides for expanding survivor benefits and educational opportunities and improving care for veterans struggling with traumatic brain injury and for victims of sexual assault, the president said, he concentrated on getting veterans access to needed medical care.

The act boosts the VA budget and will allow the organization to hire more doctors, nurses and staff. “As a new generation of veterans returns home from war and transitions into civilian life,” Obama said, “we have to make sure the VA system can keep pace with that new demand.”

And for veterans who cannot get timely care through VA, the act allows them to get that care somewhere else. “This is particularly important for veterans who are in more remote areas and rural areas,” Obama said. Essentially, this allows veterans living more than 40 miles from a VA facility, or those for whom a VA doctor is not available, to use health care providers outside the VA system.

The act also gives the secretary of Veterans Affairs – now Robert A. McDonald – the authority to hold people accountable.

“If you engage in an unethical practice, if you cover up a serious problem, you should be fired, period,” the president said. “It shouldn’t be that difficult. If you blow the whistle on an unethical practice or bring a problem to the attention of higher-ups, you should be thanked. You should be protected for doing the right thing. You shouldn’t be ignored, and you certainly shouldn’t be punished.”

Caring for veterans is a solemn obligation of the country, “because in more than a decade of war, today’s men and women in uniform, … you’ve met every mission we’ve asked of you,” the president said.

“Today,” he added, “our troops continue to serve and risk their lives in Afghanistan. It continues to be a difficult and dangerous mission, as we were tragically reminded again this week in the attack that injured a number of our coalition troops and took the life of a dedicated American soldier, Maj. Gen. Harold Greene.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines January 23, 2015

News: Two Marines identified in deadly California helo crash - Two Marine Corps officers killed when their helicopter crashed during a training exercise in the Southern California desert were remembered Jan. 25 as talented pilots. Greek F-16 crashes in Spain during NATO exercise - Ten people died Jan. 26 after a Greek air force F-16 jet crashed...
 
 

News Briefs January 26, 2015

Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys The U.S. Navy is seeking permits to expand sonar and other training exercises off the Pacific Coast, a proposal raising concerns from animal advocates who say that more sonar-emitting buoys would harm whales. The Navy now wants to deploy up to 720 sonobuoys about 12 miles off...
 
 
Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards

ANG conducts air refueling training with NATO allies in Germany

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards A NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft approaches a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker for air refueling during a training flight over Germany on Jan. 13, 2015. Nearly 30 airme...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales

Ramstein Airmen train with French air force

Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales Two U.S. Air Force pilots and a French air force navigator discuss the route to the drop zone during a simulated low-level drop Jan. 21, 2015, at Orleans – Bricy Air...
 
 

Marines receive first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant

The first F-35C Lightning II, carrier variant, for the U.S. Marine Corps touched-down on the flight line at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 13, from the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, Texas, to begin training in support of carrier-based operations. U.S. Marine Lt. Col. J.T. Ryan, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 501 detachment commander...
 
 

VA announces single regional framework under MyVA initiative

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Jan. 26 that it is taking the first steps under the MyVA initiative to realign its many organizational maps into one map with five regions to better serve Veterans. The new regions under the MyVA alignment will allow VA to begin the process of integrating disparate organizational boundaries into...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>