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house Bill H.R. 2256

Annual Check-Ups for the Veterans Health Administration

Argument in favor

There needs to be increased Congressional oversight of the the VA’s health care system after the neglect exposed by the recent wait-list scandal. Annual check-ins are a step in that direction.

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12/16/2015
(We are a nation) “where every veteran who defends this nation gets the quality health care and benefits they have earned and receives the respect they deserve.” [politico.com]
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DonaldTrump's Opinion
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12/16/2015
"The current state of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is absolutely unacceptable. Over 300,000 veterans died waiting for care. Corruption and incompetence were excused. Politicians in Washington have done too little too slowly to fix it." [donaldjtrump.com]
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BarackObama's Opinion
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12/16/2015
"still not satisfied" Read more at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/21/obama-touts-progress-va-admits-still-not-satisfied/?page=all
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Argument opposed

The VA is doing the best it can with the resources at its disposal. This bill adds to the burden the VA is already managing, and requiring a robust annual report will divert resources from more useful activities.

Joe's Opinion
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07/21/2015
I think the problem with the VA is not there was not enough government involvement, but rather too much. Washington and its feckless leadership, if you can call it leadership, got the VS in this mess. We need to give vouchers to veterans so they can seek help through their own private doctors.
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Tony's Opinion
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07/21/2015
There is already too much accounting costing millions of taxpayer dollars with absolutely no reasonable increase in performance or productivity. This is an area where a little common sense rather than micro management would work wonders!
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Ai's Opinion
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07/22/2015
VA is doing what they can with what resources they have at hand. If someone was assigned to each VA facility to do random checks to ensure everyone is doing their absolute best, that may be a step in the right direction. We, veterans, need staff that genuinely care about us rather than seeing us as a number. We need better resources to better receive the quality of care.
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What is House Bill H.R. 2256?

This bill would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to report on the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to relevant congressional committees every year.

The annual report would evaluate how effective the VHA program is at increasing access to hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care provided by the VA to eligible veterans.

The report would assess the extent to which the VHA has improved the quality of care received by those veterans — without increasing costs to the government or those veterans. Information for each medical center and Veterans Integrated Service Network would also be included.

Additionally, the annual report would evaluate:

  • The workload of physicians and other employees of the VHA

  • Patient demographics and utilization rates

  • Physician compensation

  • The productivity of physicians and other employees of the VHA

  • The percentage of hospital care, medical services and nursing home care provided to the veterans in both VHA and non-VHA facilities, and how those percentages have changed from the preceding year

  • Pharmaceutical prices

This bill would also create a tracking system for biological implants — i.e. any animal or human cell, tissue, or cellular or tissue-based product regulated as a device by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. A commission to assess the effectiveness of mental health care programs at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would be created. This bill also expands the definition of "homeless veterans" to make more vets eligible for VA programs and benefits.

Impact

Veterans, eligible service members who are not receiving care through the VHA, the VHA, the VA, and relevant congressional committees.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2256

$9.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would increase costs to VA by $9 million from 2016 to 2020.

More Information

Of Note: Early in 2014, the VA Health Administration scandal became widely publicized after it was revealed that 35 veterans had died waiting to receive care from VA healthcare facilities.

A VA audit conducted after the scandal came to light found that over 120,000 veterans were on the waiting lists or never received medical care. The audit cited demand in excess of capacity as a contributing factor in the crisis, which led to VA officials using unofficial waiting lists to make wait times appear shorter — a practice that was incentivized by the VA's bonus structure.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: "US Navy 120120-N-JN664-002 Lt. Cmdr. Howard Pryor, a Navy doctor, makes an incision into an epidermal inclusion cyst on the head of a patient in th" by U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Karolina A. Martinez - This Image was released by the United States Navy with the ID 120120-N-JN664-002 (next). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

AKA

Veterans Information Modernization Act

Official Title

To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit an annual report on the Veterans Health Administration, to provide for the identification and tracking of biological implants used in Department of Veterans Affairs facilities, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • The house Passed July 21st, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 408 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Health
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedMay 12th, 2015

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    (We are a nation) “where every veteran who defends this nation gets the quality health care and benefits they have earned and receives the respect they deserve.” [politico.com]
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    "The current state of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is absolutely unacceptable. Over 300,000 veterans died waiting for care. Corruption and incompetence were excused. Politicians in Washington have done too little too slowly to fix it." [donaldjtrump.com]
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    "still not satisfied" Read more at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/21/obama-touts-progress-va-admits-still-not-satisfied/?page=all
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    "I will work hard to help ease the return to civilian life by supporting a strong GI Bill, ensuring that veterans have top-notch health care, and taking action to create jobs. Our servicemembers and military families contribute so much to our country - we owe them the best." [elizabethwarren.com]
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    Our veterans deserve and need the best care we can offer them. The VA needs to be held accountable for their actions at ALL times.
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    The road to hell is paved in good intentions. As a Veteran, the Federal Government must relinquish control of such programs and create a program that has as little bureaucratized involvement as possible. A simple continuation of health insurance for all returning Veterans, which would work the same as private insurance, is by far a more cost effective and sensible solution.
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    "Unlike @RealBenCarson, I am working with vets across the country on a plan that is worthy of their service and sacrifice." [twitter.com]
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    When I enlisted I was told I would get free healthcare for life. When I retired 20 yrs later I found how untrue it was as benefits slowly eroded. Yes, let's do check ups on the VA. The amount of time it takes to be seen, the quality of care or lack of availability, the out of pocket costs....it all needs to be reviewed annually. Those that put their life on the line don't even come close to what our elected officials who sent them there get for health care services. Never mind dental (unless service related) is an extra cost out of our veteran's pockets! Do what's right and take care of our veterans!
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    As a veteran I can tell you there are many programs which are accomplishing little. The amount of wasted time I witnessed as an employee was disturbing. It's easy to just say it's broken and have no suggestions or ideas of what to do. I can say it's a change of culture that is needed most. An actual operating procedures that are not only practical but invaluable. It's possible. I refuse to believe this can't be fixed.
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    The government should overlook the performance of the VA and analyze the efficiency of the program to make the program better for veterans and the people that need this service.
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    This would be a case where towing the Trump line is not wholly bad. Having more visibility and accountability at the VA with a goal of better serving our veteran's health and human service needs should be a given for our government to want to do without regulation. Since it isn't, let's ensure that those who fight for America have America fighting for them.
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    People who served in our military deserve our ongoing support after they get home.
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    Get this right!
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    Absolutely critical. Out veterans should be receiving the absolute best care, and this is not happening at all VA facilities across the US, especially in Tennessee
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    Vets need benefits
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    This is no brainer - many veterans come out of service with medical problems, and it is more difficult as they get older. They did their service for the country, and I would like to know that they are checked up upon annually. Sometimes it is hard to set an appointment for them, with this at least there is reassurance they will be seen and heard.
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    The VA has a huge responsibility to our nation's heroes. They need to be held accountable.
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    If you are willing to put your life on the line for our country, we better damn well be prepared to take care of them when they get back.
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    I think the problem with the VA is not there was not enough government involvement, but rather too much. Washington and its feckless leadership, if you can call it leadership, got the VS in this mess. We need to give vouchers to veterans so they can seek help through their own private doctors.
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    Veterans NEED care!
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