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Nolan co-sponsors bill to increase veterans' access to care

After hearing concerns from veterans who are still unable to access the care they need due to where they live, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., announced he joined on as the lead House Democrat in support for a bill requiring the Department of Vete...

After hearing concerns from veterans who are still unable to access the care they need due to where they live, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., announced he joined on as the lead House Democrat in support for a bill requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to offer access to community care if a veteran lives within 40 miles of a VA medical facility that cannot provide the care the veteran needs.

The bill - H.R. 572, the Veterans Access to Community Care Act of 2015 - would ensure no veteran is denied the accessible care to which they are entitled.

"In America, nobody should struggle to access the care they need - especially not the brave men and women who have risked their lives to keep the rest of us safe," Nolan said in a news release. "Our veterans have earned this benefit through their service to our country. In Minnesota, many of our veterans live in rural areas - greatly increasing their travel burden. This bipartisan legislation is a common sense fix that will help keep veterans healthy and make their lives easier."

"In fact, the veterans with the biggest health care needs are often the ones most affected by this problem. How can we ask a disabled veteran to drive for hours just to receive care they could get down the street? This is unacceptable and I am determined to fix the problem."

Many veterans have still been unable to access the care they need since the passage of Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act (VACAA) due to the VA's flawed interpretation of the law, Nolan's office reported, adding in its interpretation of VACAA and the 40-mile eligibility criteria, the VA has only taken into account how far a veteran lives from a VA medical facility - regardless of whether that facility can provide the medical services the veteran requires. The VA has dismissed requests to alter its interpretation of this rule, Nolan's office reported.

Related Topics: VETERANSHEALTH
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