U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s Bipartisan VA Reform to Ensure Veterans Receive Care from Trusted Doctors Passes the Senate

The Veterans ACCESS Act prevents doctors once fired or suspended by the VA from treating our veterans again

By - Nov 10th, 2017 01:25 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) bipartisan reform to ensure veterans receive care from trusted doctors in their communities passed in the Senate on Thursday by unanimous consent. The bipartisan Veterans Acquiring Community Care Expect Safe Services (ACCESS) Act will protect veterans seeking care through VA community care programs, like the Choice Program, from being treated by doctors who have been fired or who are suspended from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“It’s commonsense that if a doctor is suspended or has been fired from the VA, they shouldn’t be able to serve veterans seeking care within their own communities, and certainly shouldn’t be doing so with taxpayer dollars,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud to work across the aisle with Senator Moran on our bipartisan reform to help ensure that no matter where they receive treatment, our veterans will find the quality health care they need, deserve and have earned.”‎

Currently, a loose patchwork of VA regulations are intended to stop fired or suspended VA providers from participating in VA-administered community care programs. However, VA’s continued lack of consistent implementation of national standards at the local level demonstrates that Congress must act and not leave veterans’ health and safety to chance. The Veterans ACCESS Act will require the VA Secretary to deny or revoke the eligibility of a healthcare provider to participate in community programs if that provider was removed from employment with VA, violated his or her medical license, had a Department certification revoked, or broke the law.

In addition, the bipartisan reform ensures that when a provider is suspended from VA care, the provider is also suspended from non-VA care. The legislation also gives VA the ability under certain circumstances to deny, revoke or suspend a provider’s eligibility if that action is necessary to immediately protect the health, safety, or welfare of veterans.

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