Dr. Ruiz, with Bipartisan Coalition, Urges Passage of Veterans Access to Care Act

June 10, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert) with a bipartisan coalition, urged the passage of the Veterans Access to Care Act. This legislation makes it easier for veterans who have been subjected to long wait times to seek medical care outside of the Veterans Administration (VA) system. The House is scheduled to vote the bill on tomorrow afternoon. Dr. Ruiz is a co-sponsor of this legislation.

“As a physician, one of my top priorities is ensuring the veterans I serve receive the medical care they need, when they need it,” said Dr. Ruiz, Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. “This bipartisan bill takes firm steps toward ensuring veterans in my district and across the country receive the quality medical care they have earned without delay. I will continue to work with both democrats and republicans to find pragmatic solutions to the systemic failures at the VA and fight to hold those responsible accountable.”

The Veterans Access to Care Act will:

  • Require the VA to allow a veteran to receive care outside of the VA if they’ve been waiting longer than the Veterans Health Administration wait-time goals.
  • Require the VA to allow a veteran to receive care outside of the VA if they live more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility.
  • Require the VA to submit a quarterly report to Congress on the care provided outside of the VA.
  • Require a system-wide independent assessment of the Veterans Health Administration performance with recommendations to improve veteran care.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Access Audit and the interim Inspector General’s report showed that 63,900 veterans who enrolled in the VA health system during the past 10 years haven’t received appointments and that more than 57,400 veterans have been waiting at least 90 days for their first appointment at a VA medical facility.