McMorris Rodgers Works to Bring Medical Records Access to Veterans in Eastern Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 7, 2018) – In July, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) introduced the bipartisan Modernization of Medical Records Access for Veterans Act of 2017  to provide veterans access to their comprehensive medical records at all times. Today, the Congresswoman spoke before the House Veterans Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in support of her legislation. In case you missed it, you can watch her full remarks below:

HIGHLIGHTS:

“Every day, I hear from veterans in Eastern Washington who are in desperate need for help and yet so often they feel like when they contact the VA, that they’re more of a burden than actually having the red carpet rolled out to them…I have even heard from providers in the community that I represent who have been frustrated to the point of tears because they are unable to treat veterans because the patient cannot obtain their own medical records.”

“I’m disappointed that the VA has chosen to oppose this legislation — that they’ve chosen to focus on the challenges rather than the opportunity here to offer our veterans high-quality care. Will there be challenges? Yes. But you know what, that shouldn’t stop us…My staff and I have held several meetings with the VA’s Office of Information and Technology where this legislation was discussed, where VRYTY was brought in to demonstrate their technology and where draft legislation was sent to the VA before introduction for comments and concerns. Additionally, we have in writing that the Office of Information and Technology was supportive of this legislation. In the VA’s words ‘this looks good to us’. What this bill is proposing is a simple, common sense, off-the-shelf, readily available solution to a persistent problem.”

NOTE: This legislation was introduced alongside Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). Rep. McMorris Rodgers and Rep. Moulton also joined in introducing the Faster Care for Veterans Act in 2016 which passed Congress and was signed into law by President Obama in December of 2016. Another bill aimed at bringing the VA into the 21st Century, this legislation launched a pilot program to allow veterans to use off-the-shelf technology to schedule appointments at the VA using an app or website, an option available to private citizens all over the country.

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