Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly today helped the Senate pass bipartisan legislation that aims to strengthen the Department of Veterans Affairs and improve and streamline the VA Choice Program. The VA MISSION Act of 2018, which now heads to President Trump’s desk, would simplify the VA’s programs that allow veterans to access healthcare services outside of the VA medical system, expand caregiver benefits to veterans of all eras, and provide needed funding to ensure veterans can access quality care and the benefits they have earned.
Donnelly said, “Hoosier veterans deserve access to timely, quality healthcare whether at the VA or community medical providers. I was proud to support and help the Senate pass the bipartisan VA MISSION Act, which would make necessary reforms to ensure that our veterans can more effectively receive the health care and benefits they have earned and deserve.”
The VA MISSION Act would put doctors and veterans at the center of the decision-making process on where to access the best care available and streamline the process for veterans to access community providers.
Building on Donnelly’s previous successful effort to help address veterans’ opioid abuse, the VA MISSION Act would ensure that participating community providers have reviewed evidence-based guidelines for prescribing practices, and it would require the VA to implement a process to make certain that community providers have access to available and relevant medical history of the patient, including all medication prescribed to the veteran as known by the VA. Donnelly’s bipartisan legislation that was enacted last year focused on veterans’ opioid abuse, clarified current law to allow the VA to share data on veterans and their dependents with state PDMPs – including Indiana’s INSPECT program, for patients who are prescribed opioids by VA providers.
The VA MISSION Act is supported by more than three dozen military and veterans’ groups and organizations, including Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, AMVets, Vietnam Veterans of America, Military Officers Association of America, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
In 2014, Donnelly helped Congress pass the VA Choice Program into law. In the years since, he has helped pass legislative efforts to improve the program and ensure that veterans are able to access the timely, high-quality care they earned through their service to our country. Donnelly advocated for Hoosier veterans who were being harmed by service delays at Health Net Federal Services, a contractor hired by the VA to help implement the VA Choice Program.