The best way we can show our gratitude to those who have served is to get them the care they’ve earned. When a veteran calls the VA, they should have the red carpet rolled out for them. More than two years ago, we learned of veterans at the Phoenix VA who died while waiting in line for appointments. There has to be a better way for our veterans to get the care they need.
Currently, many of our veterans have to schedule appointments at the VA by calling a 1-800 number, when millions of other Americans can simply use an app or computer and schedule a doctor’s appointment in 30 seconds. Our veterans should have the same options that people do in doctors’ offices all across the country. The VA had its own bureaucratic and expensive idea for overhauling its scheduling system, which would have taken years and cost more than $600 million. Their new Veteran Appointment Request (VAR) app that the VA rolled out to provide our veterans more options for scheduling has significant limitations as well. It’s currently only available in certain areas. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. This technology to self-schedule appointments online already exists without the VA spending millions to try and recreate it, so why shouldn’t it be readily available to our veterans? That’s why I joined Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) to introduce the Faster Care for Veterans Act.
This legislation requires the VA to use off-the-shelf technology so our veterans have the ability to schedule appointments online. It’s a step toward making sure that our veterans have options — they could go online, use an app, or, if they want, call the traditional 1-800 number.
Last week, this bill passed the House and the Senate with bipartisan support, and just days ago the President signed this legislation into law. The VA has lost sight of its mission to put our veterans first, and I’m glad my colleagues and the President recognize the need to provide this technology and more options to our nation’s heroes.
This is just one example of how I’m committed to thinking big, reimagining our federal government from the top-down, and putting people back at the center of it. With this bill, we’re demonstrating to the VA that innovative technology can work and get our veterans the care they’ve earned more quickly, without all the red tape.
I never again want to hear a war hero cry because of how the VA has treated him.
It’s my hope that with the Faster Care for Veterans Act, and our continued efforts to change the culture at the VA, we can make sure this never happens again.