Fighting for medical records access for veterans

Dear Friend,

Even this week, we continue to see the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) make mistakes that put our veterans at risk. It was uncovered this week that 1,307 boxes of private veterans health care information were left unsecured and improperly stored in Washington, D.C., putting at risk veterans’ private health information. Our veterans should have the red carpet rolled out for them, but what we’re seeing is too often the opposite.

I have been working closely with VA facilities here in Eastern Washington to improve the care our veterans receive, including working to make the Spokane VA a teaching hospital to bring more doctors and residencies to our veterans and our community.

Too often, as I meet with veterans in Eastern Washington, I hear about their troubles accessing their own medical records. I have had conversations with providers who are frustrated to the point of tears that they aren’t able to provide care because a veteran can’t find or provide their records. Last summer, I introduced a commonsense, bipartisan piece of legislation to make sure this never happens again. My bill would make it so every veteran has a card with a microchip which contains their up-to-date, comprehensive medical records. Veterans could have this at all times, and all they would have to do is hand it to their doctor and they would have up-to-date medical records at his or her fingertips.

The best part? We wouldn’t have to wait ten years or spend millions of dollars to make this happen. This technology is already being implemented in the private sector for Americans. My legislation would create a pilot program using that off-the-shelf technology. This week, my bill went before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. You can watch my testimony here:

Unfortunately, the VA is opposing this legislation, choosing to focus on the challenges that may come, rather than the opportunities it could bring for veterans. The VA’s sole mission is to care for our veterans, but they’ve become disconnected from that mission.

My mission is to restore trust and confidence in representative government, and that’s why I am working to get our veterans the care they have earned and deserve. For more updates on my work for veterans, follow along on Facebook and Twitter. And if you or someone you know is having trouble with the VA, reach out to my office. We are here to help. You can find all of my contact information here.

Warmly,

Cathy

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