There’s a good chance that you’ve heard about a new Veteran’s health care bill being signed into law. I’ll admit that it can be kind of confusing to read. If you turn to a 24 hour news channel for information regarding what this means for you, then you are likely just going to hear a lot political non-sense about how this favors one party over the other or some other commentary that doesn’t really help to explain what is going on. Well, we really don’t pay too much attention to politics with this blog, so here is what we found out about what changes are going to occur, and how this will really benefit Veterans.
First, this is not a bill for Veterans Disability; it is only for Veterans Health Care. As we have explained before, the two programs are separate from each other, and thus the 16.3 billion dollars will be spent solely on VA Health care.
So, what does mean? The first thing you will likely notice is new faces around VA Medical Facilities. A lot of the funds have been set aside for emergency spending, and this includes hiring more medical professionals. So, there will likely be new doctors and nurses in your VA medical facility in the near future.
An interesting aspect to the bill is that it will make it easier to dismiss officials who aren’t performing well. After the recent debacle in Arizona, this will be a welcome change.
Now, here is the big thing I am excited about. We interact with Veterans from all across the US. Some of them live in major metropolitan areas with access to VA facilities just minutes away. However, most of the Veterans I speak with live in rural areas with VA Hospitals and treatment centers miles away from their residence. In some cases a Veteran has to take an entire day, drive over 100 miles, and wait all day just to receive treatment. That will change now with this new bill. The changes will be take effect in two waves. First, there is a change that will occur in the near future for Veterans who live more than 40 miles away from a VA Medical Facility. They will be able to seek care now at private facilities instead of traveling far away. From my experience, a lot of Veterans refrain from seeking treatment because of the time it takes to get to the nearest facility. A lot of our clients work full time, and really can’t afford to miss a day of work because they have to travel to the VA hospital. A long term effort will be the 2nd wave of providing more health care options. The bill allocates funding for 27 new VA medical facilities to be built over the next few years.
There will also be a card issued for Veterans who have to wait more than 30 days for treatment. If you have to wait more than 30 days for treatment at a VA facility, you will be able to take the card they give you to a private facility for treatment just as you would at the VA.
Another great aspect of the bill is that it aims to increase health care for Veterans with Traumatic Brain injury or Military Sexual Trauma. Both of these issues are becoming more common in the Veteran community.
In all, this bill really looks as if it will do a lot of good for Veterans seeking health care through medical facilities. And though I mentioned earlier that we don’t talk about politics in this blog, it was somewhat overwhelming how much bipartisan support there was for the bill. It’s nice to see our political leaders put party lines aside and actually work for our Veterans.
I also stated that this bill is solely for VA health care. While that is true, this will help VA Disability claims. As I’ve said any times before, medical evidence is what wins cases. Making medical treatment more readily available for Veterans means that they will be able to get the evidence they need to help get service connected. I see so many claims get denied because Veterans can’t get treatment.
If you’d like to read the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 in full, click here.
If you’d like to know more about what we can do to help you get service connected for a claim, call us for a free consultation. 1-877-526-3457. Can’t call us right away? Fill out this form and one of our reps will call you at a more convenient time.