Hoeven Works Through Appropriations Committee to Address Veterans' Health Care Concerns

Senator Working to Get Vets More Access to Local Health-Care Services

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, on which he serves, has worked to address serious concerns at the  U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in the Fiscal Year 2015 appropriation bill. That includes measures to allow veterans to access health-care services in their local communities and investigating the ongoing backlog in VA health-care claims.

The bill was approved today by the subcommittee and now goes to the full committee and then to the full Senate for final approval.

“We worked hard in the committee to address serious and ongoing concerns regarding health care for our veterans,” Hoeven said. “That includes a provision to help veterans get quality care closer to home, which is more cost effective and convenient, as well as to address the chronic backlog in processing veterans’ health care claims.”

Last month, Hoeven hosted a roundtable in Williston to discuss the Fargo VA Health Care System’s (HCS) plans to allow veterans to secure more health care services in western North Dakota rather than make the 800-mile roundtrip drive to the Fargo VA facility. Currently, the VA offers services in the western part of the state through local outpatient community clinics in Williston, Minot and Dickinson. However, veterans are compelled to make the long drive to the Fargo VA facility for some services that are not offered by the VA clinics but that could be performed by local health care providers.

To address these concerns, Hoeven has worked on the Appropriations Committee’s Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee to include the following:

  • Access Received Closer to Home: $35 million for to provide contract based care for veterans in rural and highly rural areas who lack close access to VA facilities. Hoeven has been working to get the VA to provide health care services to veterans closer to their homes, especially in western North Dakota.
  • Improving Claims Processing: An additional $30 million for claims processing to address the VA health care claims backlog.
  • Investigating Scheduling Delays: An additional $5 million for the VA inspector general to investigate scheduling delays.
  • Addressing Rural Health Care: $250 million to fully fund the Office of Rural Health.
  • Enhancing PTSD Treatment: An additional $3 million for the National Centers for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).