Vocal in her support, 17th District Congresswoman Cheri Bustos voted in favor of the legislation which received broad bipartisan support last month in Washington.
The “Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability” Act provides avenues for veterans to seek care at non-VA facilities, hiring more primary and specialty physicians, and giving whistleblowers protections.
“Overall our goal for this is to make sure that veterans get the care they need in as timely a fashion as we can provide that for them,” says Bustos.
Action was sought after it was learned earlier this year that certain VA facilities around the country were allegedly hiding extended wait times for those seeking care. That discovery led to the resignation of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.
In response to the allegations, the bill provides “resources” for leasing new VA Clinics around the country. Bustos tells WGIL it remains to be seen how some of the non-VA solutions will work.
“This is not a permanent solution to go outside the VA for care, but we’re going to see if this is something that helps address the more immediate needs and if this is something that is needed on a more permanent basis, then we’ll look at that as time goes on,” says Bustos.
Bustos has previously toured VA sites in the 17th District, but did not report problems with wait times, locally.
Apart from legislative action, the Congresswoman says she is also supporting the confirmation of new Secretary Robert McDonald to take the reigns at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He was confirmed on July 29th. Prior to his new role, McDonald was an executive at Proctor & Gamble.