Dr. Ruiz Attends Bipartisan Bill Signing with Local Veteran Leader

August 7, 2014
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert) attended the signing of the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 into law at Fort Belvoir in Virginia with Palm Desert resident Maj. Bill Young. This law includes sections from Dr. Ruiz’s bill, H.R. 5007, the Restoring Accountability in Veterans Access to Health Care Act and seeks to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide more veteran-centered health care and allow veterans to access care outside of the VA.

“Joining Retired Air Force Major Bill Young as these crucial reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs become law gave me hope for the future of our veterans’ health care system. As an emergency physician I always put my patients first. This bill is an important first step towards ensuring that the Department of Veterans Affairs puts veterans first as well. We must guarantee that the veterans of our community, like Major Young, have access to the timely and high quality health care they have earned. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to hold accountable those who are responsible for the neglect at the VA. Our heroes deserve the very best care this nation has to offer, and I will work to ensure the criminal investigations continue for all those responsible for the tragedies that have occurred."

“This law is a huge step forward in resolving a lot of the problems veterans have faced at Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Retired Air Force Major Bill Young. “The opportunity to be here for this historic day has just been amazing. It was an honor to shake hands with Secretary McDonald, the new Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and advocate for the veterans in our community with Dr. Ruiz. I am proud of the work Dr. Ruiz has done to improve the lives of our veterans.”

The new law contains sections from Dr. Ruiz’s bill, H.R. 5007, the Restoring Accountability in Veterans Access to Health Care Act, requiring the VA to identify health care staffing shortages and fill them more efficiently, requiring the VA to assess each medical facility to ensure appropriate medical staffing levels, requiring standardized scheduling training, and requiring the VA to integrate technology into the scheduling system to make care for veterans more efficient and timely. Rep. Ruiz was one of seven bipartisan lawmakers at the signing who advocated for the passage of the bill signed into law today by the President.

Bill Young is a retired Air Force Major who resides in Palm Desert California. He heads up the Veterans Easy Access Program (VEAP) in the Coachella Valley that provides information and services to local veterans. Bill and his wife Deanna were the original founders of the Veterans Exposition that takes place each fall in the Coachella Valley. This year will mark the 5th anniversary of the expo that will bring over 1,500 veterans and active duty service members together to find out about employment opportunities and programs for our veterans. The Veteran's Expo will be hosted by VEAP on Saturday, October 11, 2014, from 9AM - 1PM at the Indio Fair Grounds, all are welcome.