WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch voted Thursday to significantly reform the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill, the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act, provides funding to hire more health care providers, build new health clinics, support veterans and their families with more educational and psychological benefits, and give the Secretary of the VA the authority needed to fire senior executives at the agency as the Secretary sees fit. The legislation was passed by the Senate merely days after the Senate confirmed a new Secretary of the VA, Robert McDonald, who Hatch voted to confirm. He said:
Our veterans and their families are heroes who deserve our very best, but sadly, the system in place and some of the senior leadership at the agency in Washington was preventing that. I recently visited the VA hospital in Salt Lake City and it’s staffed by some of the most caring staff anywhere, but they can only do so much without strong leadership from Washington. These new meaningful reforms and a new Secretary of the VA are important first steps to provide that foundation so our veterans and their families can receive the care they deserve.
The reforms passed Thursday come after widespread misconduct and malfeasance at some VA facilities around the country that led to the deaths of veterans waiting for medical care and the resignation in May of Eric Shinseki, former Secretary of the VA.
Submitted by the Offices of Orrin Hatch
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