Feb 09, 2016 / Defense/Veterans | Health Care

Improving Veterans Programs

As part of her continued focus on improving care for our Veterans, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today voted to pass several bills that address concerns raised by Veterans in Eastern Washington.

“Many Veterans come to my office with significant challenges related to the processing of their benefit claims and appeals,” McMorris Rodgers said. “We’re happy to help—but Veterans shouldn’t have to contact a Member of Congress to receive the benefits they have earned.”

H.R. 3016 requires the VA to conduct outreach to Veterans and establish a toll-free number for Veterans so credit issues caused by a delayed payment of a claim for emergency services through a non-VA provider can be more easily resolved. And many provisions of H.R. 677 are designed to expedite the accurate processing of benefits claims and appeals and ensure the appropriate availability of benefits.

Additionally, H.R. 3234 requires the VA to send rapid deployment teams to underperforming medical centers to address areas of needed improvement and establish remediation plans.

“I have serious concerns with the way the VA runs its medical centers,” McMorris Rodgers said. “I regularly visit the VA medical centers in Eastern Washington and meet frequently with administrators and staff to provide feedback from Veterans and encourage them to make improvements.”

Of the four major VA medical centers in Washington State, McMorris Rodgers’ represents two, the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane and the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center in Walla Walla.

The following bills, which will help Veterans navigate the VA system and improve access and quality of care, passed the U.S. House today:

H.R. 3016, the Veterans Employment, Education, and Healthcare Improvement Act
H.R. 3106, the Construction Reform Act of 2016
H.R. 2360, the Career-Ready Student Veterans Act of 2015
H.R. 677, the American Heroes COLA ACT of 2015
H.R. 3234, the VA Medical Center Recovery Act
H.R. 2915, the Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act

Last week, McMorris Rodgers voted to pass H.R. 3700 the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016, which included provisions to help disabled Veterans and their families, ending the unfair Administration policy of counting the aid and attendance benefits for low-income, disabled Veterans as income.