WASHINGTON D.C. -- Senator Kaine joined Veteran Affairs Committee Chairman Senator Bernie Sanders Tuesday night to introduce another version of the Restoring Veterans' Trust Act of 2014.
Below is a fact sheet on the Ensuring Veterans Access to Care Act:
Removal of Poorly Performing Senior Officials
Authority for Immediate Removal: This legislation would provide the VA Secretary authority to immediately remove incompetent senior executives based on poor job performance while maintaining due process for those employees. At most, the process should take no more than 30 days from firing to conclusion of the appeal period.
Authority for the Acting Secretary to Remove Incompetent Employees: This bill would also provide authority for VA's Acting Secretary to remove senior executives notwithstanding the 120-day moratorium in current law.
Shortening Wait Times for Veterans
Immediate Action to Reduce Wait Times: This legislation would standardize the VA's process for sending care into the community by requiring VA to take into account wait times for care at VA, the health of the veteran, and the distance the veteran would be required to travel, as well as the veterans preference, when authorizing care for the veteran when VA is unable to provide such care within its stated goal (currently 14 days).
Bolstering VA's Ability to Bring in Doctors: This bill would give VA the ability to rapidly hire new doctors, nurses and other health care providers in areas where there are identified shortages. It would allow National Health Service Corps participants to receive scholarships and loan repayment for employment at VA facilities, making it easier for VA to attract needed personnel. Finally, it would extend access to VA's health care scholarship program for those individuals pursuing a medical degree with the intent of specializing in primary care.
Addressing VA's Long-Term Needs
Authorization of Major Medical Facility Leases: This legislation would authorize VA to enter into 27 major medical facility leases in 18 states and Puerto Rico. In many instances, these leases would improve access to care closer to home, and would increase the availability of specialty care services in these locations. In addition, these would allow VA to decompress over-utilized VA facilities.
Access to VA Health Care: This bill would require the President to create a Commission to look at VA health care access issues and recommend actions to bolster capacity. A report to the President would be required within 90 days of the Commission's first meeting.
Capital Planning for VA Medical Facilities: This bill would require the establishment of a Commission on Capital Planning for VA medical facilities to improve VA's capital asset processes, from facility planning and individual project management to managing the multi-billion dollar backlog of facility construction and maintenance projects in order to ensure veterans can receive treatment in safe facilities.