Hoeven Statement on Confirmation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie

During Confirmation Process, Senator Met with Wilkie to Ensure Smooth Implementation of VA MISSION Act, Continue Efforts to Provide Veterans with Care Closer to Home

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven released the following statement after voting to confirm Robert Wilkie to serve as secretary of Veterans Affairs. During the confirmation process, Hoeven met with Wilkie and outlined the importance of implementing the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act in a timely way to improve care for veterans and ensure they have access to local health and long-term care. The senator also invited Wilkie to visit North Dakota to see firsthand the importance of providing care for veterans close to home.  

“We congratulate Secretary Wilkie on his confirmation,” said Hoeven “When we met last month, I updated him on our efforts to provide veterans with access to health and long-term care services closer to their homes, and outlined to him the importance of implementing the VA MISSION Act in a timely and effective manner in order to do just that. We look forward to working with Secretary Wilkie and other Administration officials, as well as stakeholders and veterans in North Dakota to ensure that this legislation is implemented in a way that ensures the health care industry is able to provide both long-term care services and medical services to our veterans closer to home.”  

Hoeven worked to include in the following initiatives in the VA MISSION Act, including:

  • Key provisions from his Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act to increase access to long-term care (LTC) options for veterans in their home communities and near their loved ones.
  • Expanded caregiver benefits for veterans of all eras. Under current law, these benefits are only available to caregivers of post-9/11 veterans. This provision will help support all veterans and the family and friends that care for them.
  • Removal of the arbitrary 30-day/40-mile rule, which acted as a barrier to veterans receiving care in their home communities and often required veterans to travel long distances to receive health care. Last Congress, Hoeven helped introduce and the Senate passed the Access to Community Care for Veterans Act, legislation to fix the 40-mile issue.

Hoeven is working with the Fargo VA Medical Center, Veteran Service Organizations, medical and long-term care providers, as well as administration officials to ensure the legislation is properly implemented and achieves the intent of Congress. The senator has been working with administration officials, including U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Alex Acosta, so that the agencies are working together with representatives from the health care industry and veterans service organizations to provide veterans with access to long-term care.