Working to Close the Veterans Emergency Coverage Gap

Last year, a Gulf War veteran from Spokane needed help. She’d recently enrolled in VA Health and scheduled her first VA doctor’s appointment after retiring from the service. But then, just days before her appointment, disaster struck. She had a heart attack.

Thankfully, she was treated and discharged after a trip to the emergency room. She immediately followed protocol and notified the VA of the treatment she received. But since she hadn’t been seen by a VA doctor in the last 24 months, her claim was denied.

It didn’t matter that her appointment was just days away. It didn’t matter that many VA facilities have 30-60 day wait times to get an appointment. And it didn’t matter that she’d been regularly seeing a non-VA doctor. This is wrong.

My bipartisan legislation – the RELIEVE Act – would waive the 24-month rule for 60 days after a veteran enrolls in VA Health to give them the time they need to complete their first VA appointment. Today, I urged the House Veterans Affairs Committee to send my bill to the Floor to eliminate the emergency coverage gap and give veterans the treatment they’ve earned.

CLICK HERE to watch my testimony.

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