Improving Healthcare for Veterans

The VA MISSION Act (H.R. 5674/S.2193) has passed and will strengthen healthcare services at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) The Act will expand the VA’s community care programs to all generations so veterans will be able to receive care in their own communities. In the interim, the bill authorizes and appropriates funding for the VA to continue the Veterans Choice Program until the new Veterans Community Care Program is implemented.

The legislation will help improve existing VA healthcare and services by removing barriers for VA healthcare professionals to practice telemedicine. Also, the Act is going to strengthen opioid prescription guidelines for the VA and eliminate impediments to hiring and retaining VA healthcare professionals.

The bill was sponsored on the House side by Representative David P. Roe (R-TN) and on the Senate side the bill was sponsored by Senator Johnny Isakson

The legislation has received broad support from veterans groups representing millions of veterans in the U.S. Support has come from Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project on the passage of the Act. She said, “For many years, we have seen veterans and their providers frustrated because veteran health records were not accessible to private sector providers due to an administrative issue.”

She adds, “The VA Mission Act provides an important fix that will unlock veteran health records to enable providers who care for veterans to make better informed decisions and coordinate care regardless of whether they are treated at a medical facility or in the private sector.”

Vice President Jay Nakashima for the eHealth Exchange also in favor of the Act, commented, “Since its inception, the eHealth Exchange network has worked closely with the VA to support health IT interoperability between the department and partner providers but our success was limited by an outdated congressional mandate. Now we hope to see exponential improvements in health data sharing between community providers and the Veterans Health Administration resulting in benefits with patient satisfaction and health outcomes.”

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