Senator Tammy Baldwin's office issued the following today:
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Baldwin (202) 224–6225
Moran (202) 224-6521
Senators Baldwin and Moran Introduce Bipartisan VA Reform to Ensure Veterans Receive Care from Trusted Doctors
The Veterans ACCESS Act would prevent doctors once fired or suspended by the VA from treating our veterans again
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) today introduced legislation to ensure our veterans receive care from trusted doctors in their communities. The bipartisan Veterans Acquiring Community Care Expect Safe Services (ACCESS) Act would protect veterans seeking care through VA community care programs, like the Choice Program, from being treated by doctors who have been fired or who are suspended from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“It’s commonsense that if a doctor is suspended or has been fired from the VA, they shouldn’t be able to serve veterans seeking care within their own communities, and certainly shouldn’t be doing so with taxpayer dollars,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud to work across the aisle with Senator Moran on our bipartisan reform to help ensure that no matter where they receive treatment, our veterans will find the quality health care they need, deserve and have earned.”
“VA healthcare providers who have been removed from the VA should never be allowed to continue treating our nation’s veterans,”Senator Moran said. “This commonsense legislation would help protect veterans from those who put their health at risk – whether at a VA hospital or outside the VA – and keeps our veterans out of harm’s way.”
Currently, a loose patchwork of VA regulations are intended to stop fired or suspended VA providers from participating in VA-administered community care programs. However, VA's continued lack of consistent implementation of national standards at the local level demonstrates that Congress must act and not leave veterans' health and safety to chance. The Veterans ACCESS Act would require the VA Secretary to deny or revoke the eligibility of a healthcare provider to participate in community programs if that provider was removed from employment with VA, violated his or her medical license, had a Department certification revoked, or broke the law.
In addition, the bipartisan reform would ensure that when a provider is suspended from VA care, the provider is also suspended from non-VA care. The legislation would also give VA the ability under certain circumstances to deny, revoke, or suspend a provider’s eligibility if that action is necessary to immediately protect the health, safety, or welfare of veterans.
An online version of this press release is available here.