Today, with bipartisan support, legislators were able to come to an agreement over the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and it’s struggles to provide timely care to our nations's veterans. The deal which was struck over the weekend adds at least $15 Billion in funding to the VA. According to Richard A. Oppel, Jr. of the New York Times, the bill will provide "emergency relief that would allow veterans who live far from a V. A. facility or who face wait times that exceed a certain duration to see private doctors, and have those visits paid for by the government."
Along with allowing veterans to see private doctors (which many physicians have been championing for quite some time), the bill will try to fix the doctor shortage that has plagued the VA for years. In addition, the deal aims to address the serious nursing shortage as well. The outdated scheduling system will be updated, along with the addition of 27 new buildings to make the 14-day patient visit requirement goal a more realistic measure to reach. Before President Obama can sign the bill, it has to be passed in both the Republican controlled House and Democratically controlled Senate.
Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Republican Senator Jeff Miller of Florida have been the leaders of this initiative for the last six weeks as Congress has been trying to plan the massive overhaul of the VA's healthcare system.
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