WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined thirteen of his Senate colleagues Tuesday to introduce the Restoring Veterans' Trust Act of 2014; legislation to correct underlying problems in access to medical care at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
'This legislation is an important step toward restoring the confidence of our veterans and the American public,' said Kaine. 'By providing the VA with direct hire authority, ensuring veterans receive timely care, and sending patients to private community providers when VA medical services are unavailable, we can begin to fix the systemic issues that have plagued the VA.'
The Restoring Veterans' Trust Act of 2014 would give the VA authority to immediately remove senior executives based on poor job performance while preventing wholesale political firings.
It would also provide veterans who can't get timely appointments with VA doctors the option of going to community health centers, military hospitals or private doctors. It would even authorize emergency funding to hire new doctors, nurses and other providers in order to address system-wide health care provider shortages.
To address the primary care doctor shortage for the long-term, the bill would authorize the National Health Service Corps to award scholarships to medical school students or to forgive college loans for doctors and nurses who go to work at the VA.
On Thursday, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will consider the bill, which then could be put on a fast track for consideration by the full Senate. Virtually all of the provisions already have been approved by the Senate committee during previous legislative markup sessions.