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Roby: VA contracting program can help more veterans get needed care

More veterans in need of health care should be able to take advantage of an innovative program connecting veteran patients with local health providers, U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) said today on the House floor.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - More veterans in need of health care should be able to take advantage of an innovative program connecting veteran patients with local health providers, U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) said today on the House floor.

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"Some services veterans need aren’t always offered at their local VA hospital – or if they are, the waiting list might be really long," Rep. Roby said. "In these cases, it only makes sense for the VA to contract out services through local providers and get the veteran patients the care they need. And offering better care to veterans while saving taxpayer money is a win-win situation."
 
Patient-Centered Community Care (PCCC) was initiated by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2013 as a way to allow veterans to access health care services not offered by their local VA medical centers or those that come with especially long waiting lists. Under PCCC, VA medical centers can contract with local, non-VA health care providers for services such as mental health care, emergency care, physical therapy and even limited newborn care for veteran mothers. 
 
More veterans should be able to take advantage of this now-limited service, Rep. Roby contends. That's why Roby pushed for and succeeded at including language within the Fiscal Year 2015 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee Report directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to document the success and cost effectiveness of PCCC in order to establish the program as a viable alternative for more VA medical centers and more veteran patients.
 
Below is a complete transcript of Rep. Roby's floor speech.
 
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
 
There is no greater duty we have as a nation than to care for our veterans, and I’m so proud to stand in support of this bill funding critical VA needs like medical care, medical health services, suicide prevention, traumatic brain injury treatment, homeless services and job training.
 
One way I believe we can greatly improve VA services is to further develop the Patient-Centered Community Care program.
 
Some services veterans need aren’t always offered at their local VA hospital – or if they are, the waiting list may be really long. In these cases, it only makes sense for the VA to contract out services through local providers and get the veteran patients the care that they need. And offering better care to veterans while saving taxpayer money is a win-win situation.
 
Our committee report for this bill asks the Department of Veterans Affairs to document the successes and efficiencies of Patient Centered Community Care so we can make the case for allowing more veterans to take advantage of this innovative program.
 
I strongly support this bill. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
 
More information about the Fiscal Year 2015 Military Construction & Veteran Affairs Appropriations Bill along with the Committee Report is available online at http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=374940.

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