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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 12:47 am | Fair 51º


Capps Co-Sponsors Bill to Help Veterans Access Care

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Monday announced that she has co-sponsored legislation that would make it easier for Central Coast veterans to access the care they have earned and deserve.

The bill, House Resolution 577, would allow veterans to access non-VA care when the services they need are not available at a VA facility within 40 driving miles of the veteran’s residence.

Under the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, which was signed into law last August, veterans enrolled in VA health care were issued a Veterans Choice Card to facilitate access to non-VA provider servicers when the veteran resides more than 40 miles from the nearest VA healthcare facility and/or the veteran cannot obtain an appointment at the VA within 30 days. Unfortunately, the services veterans need are often not available at the nearest VA healthcare facility.

Many Central Coast veterans live within 40 miles of a community-based outpatient clinicm, however, major medical procedures cannot typically be performed at these facilities, and too many veterans — many of whom are elderly or disabled — are forced to travel to the Los Angeles VA hospital to receive inpatient care. This bill would modify the distance requirement to account for the number of miles from the veteran’s residence to a VA facility actually providing the necessary medical service.

“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country, and we need to ensure that we keep our promise to them throughout their life,” Capps said. “We should be making access to care easier for all our veterans, and this bill will go a long way to making sure veterans — especially the elderly and disabled — have that easier access to the care they need.”

Capps, along with several colleagues, will also be sending a letter to VA Robert McDonald urging him to adopt changes that would have a similar effect to the legislation.

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.


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