May 23, 2018

Crapo Provisions Included in Senate-Passed Veterans Health Care Reform Measure

Legislation includes Crapo provisions to educate veterans and train employees on the use of non-VA health care programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two legislative provisions authored by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo were included in today’s Senate passage of S. 2372, the John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka and Samuel R. Johnson Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act.  The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 92-5 after the House of Representatives voted 347-70 to pass the legislation on May 16, 2018. 

“We need accessible non-VA community care that is responsive to the individual needs of veterans,” Crapo said.  “The VA should be flexible and adaptable to each veteran’s circumstances, particularly when veterans face physical, geographical or other barriers to care.  As a result of this measure, veterans will be able to consult with their physician on the most veteran-centric approach to receiving care.  Today’s Senate passage of this legislation signals to our nation’s veterans we will continue to ensure they receive the care they have earned.” 

Broadly supported by 38 leading military and veterans service organizations, the VA MISSION Act includes significant reforms to current VA health care delivery systems and provides veterans with more choices and fewer barriers to care.  S. 2372 includes several provisions proposed by Crapo in his bill, S. 1279, the Veterans Health Administration Reform Act, introduced last year, including:

  • S. 2372 permanently consolidates the current seven VA community care programs and creates a new Veteran Community Care Program to streamline the delivery of local, private health care to veterans when it is in the best medical interest of the veteran. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) recognized Senator Crapo’s bill for introducing this veteran centric approach to care in the community.   
  • The VA MISSION Act also includes the following important provisions from the Crapo bill that ensure veterans and VA staff alike know and understand the range of health care options available to veterans and the costs veterans may incur:  
    • Section 121 creates an education program on health care options for veterans and will help better inform veterans of their health care options through the VA; and
    • Section 122 requires the VA to develop and implement a staff training program to teach employees how to administer the non-VA health care programs. 

The VA MISSION Act also expands benefits for caregivers of veterans for all eras, not just those injured after 9/11. 

Understanding the complexities of veterans’ health care, Crapo added, “It must be easier for veterans to access medical care in the community when it is in the best clinical interest of the veteran.  Any improvements to veterans’ health care must strike the appropriate balance between service available in the community and services available through the VA.” 

Senator Crapo introduced legislation to best meet the health care needs of Idaho’s veterans after receiving direct input through two statewide surveys he conducted, casework, constituent mail and various meetings with veterans and their families. 

A one-page summary of the VA MISSION Act is available on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee website here, and a section-by-section summary is available here.

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