December 16, 2016

Moulton’s Faster Care for Veterans Bill Signed into Law

Bipartisan bill will bring VA healthcare into the 21st century

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Seth Moulton’s (D-MA) bipartisan Faster Care for Veterans Act of 2016 was signed by President Barack Obama and became law. Moulton introduced the legislation with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to improve access to veteran health care. The bill passed the Senate by unanimous vote last Saturday.

The Faster Care for Veterans Act will make critical improvements to veteran health care by utilizing 21st century technology. The legislation requires the VA to pilot an online self-scheduling app for VA patients, equipping the VA with the same state-of-the-art technology enjoyed by patients in the private sector to improve the quality of veteran health care services. Moulton and McMorris Rodgers’ legislation will allow patients to self-schedule appointments from their smart phones or computers with the click of a button.

“Our veterans deserve the best health care in the world, but for far too long they have been underserved by outdated systems that make it hard to simply schedule an appointment,” said Moulton. “President Obama signed our bill into law today, and veterans across the nation will soon have the ability to use online, self-scheduling technology to make appointments. I’ve heard from thousands of veterans across the country that this will make a major difference, and I’m grateful to Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers and Senators Klobuchar and Ernst for their efforts to get our legislation through the House and Senate. Improving veteran services is one of my top priorities, and I thank my colleagues for putting country over politics to make a difference for our veterans.”

“Today is a victory for our veterans and a big step toward bringing the VA into the 21st Century and back to being focused on its sole mission – serving veterans,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05). “I’m grateful for my colleagues’ support of this legislation, and I look forward to seeing the very real impact it will have on giving our veterans easier access to the care they’ve earned.”

“Our veterans shouldn’t be forced to wait weeks on end for an appointment at the VA,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “The Faster Care for Veterans Act will allow veterans to schedule and confirm their appointments at VA centers online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Modernizing the appointment process means quicker and more accessible service. I am pleased that this new law will help to uphold our commitment to provide quality and timely care for our nation’s veterans.”

“Excessive wait times can put veterans’ lives at risk, but state-of-the art technology that makes it easier to schedule appointments already exists and is being used in other hospital systems,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “Our veterans have earned the right to use the same technology to schedule their medical appointments without unnecessary red tape and delays. This bipartisan bill will take an important step forward in ensuring that our brave men and women who have sacrificed so much have access to the medical care they need and deserve.”

Last February, Moulton posted a video on his official Facebook page of District Representative and Army Veteran, Dennis Magnasco, attempting to make an appointment at the VA, but he could not get past the automated answering service. The video, “Why Veterans Need H.R. 4352 The Faster Care for Veterans Act,” went viral and has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times with 35,000 shares and thousands of comments of support.

Moulton has made veterans’ care a top priority during this congress. In June 2015, Moulton introduced his first package of legislation: The VA Education Training and Sustainability (VETS) Act, four bills aimed at improving the talent pipeline at Veterans Affairs medical facilities across the country. In this Congress, Moulton passed three bills through the House and has had one bill signed into law; a total which no other Freshman House Democrat has surpassed.

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