Just two weeks after the bill’s introduction, the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee today held a hearing on Senator Jon Tester’s legislation to fix the Veterans’ Choice Program and better equip the VA to serve veterans’ needs.

“The Veterans’ Choice Program is broken, and this bill will give the VA more flexibility to ensure that veterans will be able to more timely access the care they have earned,” said Tester, Montana’s only member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  “This bill is the product of compromise on both sides of the aisle, and it is critical that we quickly move this legislation out of committee and onto the Senate floor.”

Tester’s bill, the Improving Veterans Access to Care in the Community Act, will provide the VA with the flexibility it needs to improve care by streamlining and consolidating community care programs, and eliminating many of the bureaucratic hurdles that prevent veterans from accessing care.

Tester's Improving Veterans Access to Care in the Community Act:
·         Gives VA the spending flexibility it needs in places like Montana to quickly provide veterans non-VA care when necessary.
·         Simplifies the rules so that private health care providers are better able to serve veterans when the VA cannot.
·         Consolidates the VA's multiple community care programs into a single, efficient program with straightforward eligibility criteria and a single set of clinical and administrative systems.
·         Expands access to emergency treatment and urgent community care for veterans.