Agenda for Veterans’ Health: Bergman, Bost Unveil Three New Bills

Washington - Today, Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health Jack Bergman introduced three key pieces of legislation. These bills would close gaps in Veterans’ health care across the board, support Veterans’ caregivers, and cut waste at the VA. In addition to support from multiple Veterans Service Organizations (VSO), Rep. Bergman introduced these bills with the support of House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Mike Bost.

“We’re setting a new agenda for delivery of Veterans health care, which includes more access to services, better support for Veterans and their caregivers, and sharper scrutiny of the Veterans Health Administration," said Rep. Jack Bergman.

“It’s simple - these three bills will help deliver the world-class care that veterans deserve,” said Ranking Member Mike Bost. “They would close gaps in care for veterans, strengthen services for caregivers, and increase transparency and accountability for taxpayers. I am proud to join my good friend and fellow Marine, General Bergman, in introducing them today.”

1. Guaranteeing Healthcare Access to Personnel Who Served (GHAPS) Act:

This bipartisan legislation, co-led by Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), addresses gaps in Veterans’ health care, particularly for those who are hard to reach by:

  • Protecting and improving timely Veterans’ community care by codifying/creating MISSION Act community care access standards;

  • Bolstering telehealth delivery through a VA strategic plan to ensure thoughtful and innovative deployment of virtual care;

  • Addressing Veterans with treatment-resistant depression by ensuring access to evidence-based care;

  • Cutting red tape for VA research by removing Paperwork Reduction Act requirements; and

  • Evaluating services to overseas Veterans via a GAO report on the Foreign Medical Program. 

Supported by: The American Legion, America’s Warrior Partnership, American Red Cross, Vietnam Veterans of America, American Ex-Prisoners of War, National Association for Rural Mental Health, Jewish War Veterans, National Association of American Veterans, Fleet Reserve Association, Alaska Native Veterans Association, National Association of Black Veterans, National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors

2. VA Caregiver Transparency Act:

This legislation reforms the Family Caregiver Program to connect more Veterans and their caregivers with the resources they need by:

  • Cutting red tape for Veterans by allowing VA to expand the Family Caregiver Program to all pre-9/11 Veteran caregivers more quickly;

  • Clarifying and Strengthening the Family Caregiver Program clinical appeals process; and

  • Creating transparency for VA caregivers by requiring regular VA reports on Family Caregiver Program

Supported by: The Independence Fund, Wounded Warrior Project, Minority Veterans of America

3. VA Assessment by Independent Measures (VA AIM) Act:

This legislation will regularly and thoroughly evaluate the Veterans Health Administration’s delivery of care to Veterans to understand where taxpayer dollars are being spent and ensuring they’re doing the most for our Veterans by:

  • Requiring VA to contract with private sector entities with relevant expertise to conduct Independent Assessments of the VA healthcare system every decade;

    • The Independent Assessments would include evaluations of: the demographics and projected needs of the veteran patient population; VA’s budget; access to care in VA medical facilities and in the community; staffing and productivity; health IT; infrastructure needs and challenges; accountability; and training, research, and disaster/emergency response capabilities.

Supported by: Veterans of Foreign Wars, Wounded Warrior Project, Minority Veterans of America

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