News Column

Braley Pushes for Veterans Access to Care Act in Search for Solutions at VA

June 11, 2014


First Congressional District, Iowa

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Contact: Kirsten Hartman (202) 226-0572 (desk)

Braley Pushes for Veterans Access to Care Act in Search for Solutions at VA

Congressman: It's not enough to complain, we have to offer solutions

Washington, D.C. - Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today is calling on Congressional leadership to pass his Veterans Access to Care Act in an attempt to make it easier to hire health care providers at VA hospitals and clinics around the country.

"Complaining about the problems at the VA on the sidelines isn't enough-we've got to get in there and offer solutions," Braley said. "We've seen recent reports from VA facilities in many parts of the country that it can be difficult to recruit medical providers-this bill is a commonsense solution that would help solve that problem and ensure our veterans are getting the care that they deserve."

In a letter to the Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Braley urges the committee to take up legislation that would make veterans' care facilities eligible to hire National Health Service Corps fellows, helping attract health care providers to careers helping veterans.

The National Health Service Corps is a national scholarship and loan repayment program operated by the US Department of Health and Human Services that pays medical school expenses for future doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and health practitioners who agree to work in medically underserved areas. Braley's bill would simply add Veterans Administration facilities and state veterans' homes as eligible "underserved areas" in which the Corps fellows would be eligible to serve.

"Given what we've discovered in recent months, it's nonsense that some of these VA hospitals and clinics don't qualify as 'underserved areas'," Braley said.

Recent reporting by the Des Moines Register indicated that initial wait times for appointments at the Iowa City VA facility were longer than the national average. Braley believes that the passage of this legislation could help facilities like Iowa City more easily recruit medical providers and reduce wait times.

"Iowa's veterans and all American veterans shouldn't have to fight when they come home to receive the care that was promised to them," Braley's letter reads.

Braley has consistently been a strong advocate for veterans. In 2011, Braley wrote the Combat Veterans Back to Work Act to provide employers with a payroll tax break if they hired recently returned veterans, including members of the Iowa National Guard. The bill was incorporated into new tax credits signed into law terans-hiring-tax-credit in November 2011.

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Source: Congressional Documents & Publications

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