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house Bill H.R. 1725

Should the VA Accept Exams by Private Physicians When Veterans Establish Claims?

Argument in favor

Veterans shouldn’t have to wait on the VA for the benefits they earned in service of the country, letting reports of exams by private physicians be used to start and speed up the claims process.

Pamela 's Opinion
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05/23/2017
Absolutely! Anything that helps Veterans get benefits faster should be approved. The VA is already bogged down in too much paperwork and red tape.
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Carole's Opinion
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05/22/2017
The VA is so backed up that it would be very advantageous to allow veterans to use the doctor of their choice to treat them, especially in cases of emergency care, or even for maintenance care. This would greatly relieve the backlog on the VA System and cut down on the waiting times.
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Liz's Opinion
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05/22/2017
I am a veteran, and I would appreciate this option. Tricare does it, and it has helped us retirees get seen more promptly. Thanks!
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Argument opposed

The VA shouldn’t be required to accept exams from private physicians, and current law already allows them to accept the exams so this bill is unnecessary.

David's Opinion
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05/23/2017
This proposal, well-intentioned as it is, is just a patch on a situation created by Congress' irresponsibility in not supporting vets by funding the VA adequately. Non-VA doctors are not as good at dealing with vets as the doctors are at the VA. And Congress does not need any wiggle room in getting out of its responsibility toward we vets.
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Jessica's Opinion
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05/23/2017
This is not about emergency care - this is about benefits Veterans receive besides healthcare. This is already allowed for care related exams. As a clinician at the VA, this would actually not be helpful and cause more confusion. The exams for benefits used to be greatly delayed, but as an organization the VA has worked hard to catch up and meet demand. There is no longer a delay that exceeds what one would get in a private hospital. The danger with with change is that clinicians not experienced with the VA benefits system and/or working with the specific issues (particularly mental health) that Veterans face are not equipped to offer the needed education that occurs during those assessments. This will make it no easier to complete an exam for benefits but will make it more difficult to get plugged into treatment.
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DeanMartian's Opinion
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05/23/2017
My first reaction to this was, "of course!" But then, in the interest of making an informed decision, I read more than just the title. It is already allowed, this is a waste of time.
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What is House Bill H.R. 1725?

This bill would require the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) to accept a report of a medical examination by a private physician to establish a claim for veterans disability benefits without requiring confirmation by a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) physician. Current law allows, but doesn’t require, the VA to accept reports from private physicians. The private physician’s report would have to be complete and include all information that’s needed to make a decision on the claim.

The VA would be required to submit two additional reports:

  • A report on the progress of the VA’s Acceptable Clinical Evidence initiative in reducing the necessity for in-person disability examinations.

  • An annual report for each VA regional office regarding claims for which private medical evidence was determined to be unacceptable.

Impact

Veterans; private physicians; and the VA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1725

$500.00 Thousand
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost less than $500,000 over the 2018-2022 period.

More Information

In-Depth: When he introduced this bill to help speed up the VA’s claims process during the last session of Congress, sponsoring Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) said:

“After these brave men and women put their life on the line for us, the least we can do is ensure they are getting the benefits they have earned in a timely manner I recognize this problem was not created, nor will it be solved, overnight, but we can and must do better. Our bipartisan legislation will enhance the VA's current efforts to break the backlog by helping them become more efficient, and will help veterans get the benefits-and the care-they deserve quicker.”

This legislation passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on a voice vote, and has the bipartisan support of eight cosponsors evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Veterans Health via Flickr / Creative Commons)

AKA

Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act of 2017

Official Title

To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit certain reports relating to medical evidence submitted in support of claims for benefits under the laws administered by the Secretary.

bill Progress


  • EnactedMarch 9th, 2018
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed February 15th, 2018
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • The house Passed May 23rd, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedMarch 24th, 2017

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    Absolutely! Anything that helps Veterans get benefits faster should be approved. The VA is already bogged down in too much paperwork and red tape.
    Like (42)
    Follow
    Share
    This proposal, well-intentioned as it is, is just a patch on a situation created by Congress' irresponsibility in not supporting vets by funding the VA adequately. Non-VA doctors are not as good at dealing with vets as the doctors are at the VA. And Congress does not need any wiggle room in getting out of its responsibility toward we vets.
    Like (57)
    Follow
    Share
    This is not about emergency care - this is about benefits Veterans receive besides healthcare. This is already allowed for care related exams. As a clinician at the VA, this would actually not be helpful and cause more confusion. The exams for benefits used to be greatly delayed, but as an organization the VA has worked hard to catch up and meet demand. There is no longer a delay that exceeds what one would get in a private hospital. The danger with with change is that clinicians not experienced with the VA benefits system and/or working with the specific issues (particularly mental health) that Veterans face are not equipped to offer the needed education that occurs during those assessments. This will make it no easier to complete an exam for benefits but will make it more difficult to get plugged into treatment.
    Like (34)
    Follow
    Share
    The VA is so backed up that it would be very advantageous to allow veterans to use the doctor of their choice to treat them, especially in cases of emergency care, or even for maintenance care. This would greatly relieve the backlog on the VA System and cut down on the waiting times.
    Like (32)
    Follow
    Share
    My first reaction to this was, "of course!" But then, in the interest of making an informed decision, I read more than just the title. It is already allowed, this is a waste of time.
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    I am a veteran, and I would appreciate this option. Tricare does it, and it has helped us retirees get seen more promptly. Thanks!
    Like (22)
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    This shouldn't be done in place of properly funding the VA. The VA needs staffing to be able to process claims and help our veterans in a timely manner.
    Like (14)
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    Yes. It would cut costs and it would keep the long waits for VA appointments down. It's too much paperwork to go through more of the same with the VA docs when everything can get done and then disseminated between a GP, the VA, and any other docs you made need to deal with.
    Like (12)
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    Doctors at the VA are much more aware of the subtle issues vets deal with that outside doctors are not trained to look for. The issue of getting the veterans the care they need in a reasonable time is an issue congress could fix by providing funding instead of platitudes and bumper sticker "solutions ".
    Like (11)
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    A physician is a physician, regardless of where they work. Sometimes, due to delays the veteran must find a workaround for the sake of health.
    Like (7)
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    If it allows them to get care faster, then yes, of course. But it should not be used as an excuse to not fix the underlying cause of the wait times in the first place.
    Like (7)
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    this makes sense especially in an emergency
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    Since the VA can already can accept outside evaluations this would only open up chance for abuse on the part of doctors.
    Like (6)
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    SS disability uses private physician exams. Why shouldn't the VA?
    Like (6)
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    I trust private physicians more than government doctors. This makes sense.
    Like (6)
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    Yes, letting vets go to local hospitals and doctors would be a real service to veterans and the VA could be greatly reduced in size and personnel greatly reducing cost and freeing funds for our health instead of bureaucrats getting huge safeties and high staffs not getting the job done. Use the budget for local care and medicine.
    Like (5)
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    Veterans should have a choice on where to receive care
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    The VA has such a backlog, they need to let the private sector fill in the ongoing gaps in their ability to quickly meet needs. If they can overcome the backlog for a year, this could be dropped.
    Like (5)
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    They are our Vets!!! Do it!
    Like (4)
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    With the timeliness problems in the VA it seems logical that veterans should be able to present information from private physicians without needing to go through another exam.
    Like (4)
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