Senate VA Committee Passes Sen. Moran’s Legislation to Address Gaps in Veteran Health Care

WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee voted to pass the Guaranteeing Healthcare Access to Personnel Who Served (GHAPS) Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC) – that would address gaps in veteran health care to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is serving veterans in hard-to-reach places.

This legislation works to create uniform access standards for care in the community to help veterans receive timely health care, remove bureaucratic barriers to care and mandate a VA telehealth strategy to incorporate and apply lessons learned during the pandemic to close the gaps in VA health care.  

“While I believe the MISSION Act access standards used to determine eligibility are working, I agreed to remove the provision in the bill to codify these standards as the department works to carry out its assessment of the eligibility access standards, as mandated by MISSION,” said Sen. Moran. “While I still believe that codification of MISSION’s eligibility standards that veterans have come to rely on is the right course of action, I am pleased that the bill still includes language that would ensure veterans can receive timely community care. I will continue working to pass the GHAPS Act in the Senate to make certain our veterans continue to have access to the programs that are working for them no matter where they live.”

This legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.).

This legislation would close VA health care gaps by:

  • Incorporating access standards for community care delivery to make certain veterans receive timely care in the community across the Community Care Network.
  • Directing VA to create a telehealth strategic plan to ensure the department is deploying virtual care thoughtfully and utilizing innovative solutions to deliver telehealth to rural veterans.
  • Ensuring all veterans with treatment-resistant depression have access to the necessary evidence-based care to put them on the path to recovery.
  • Cutting red tape for VA research by removing the Paperwork Reduction Act requirements, ensuring veterans benefit from more timely research-informed care.
  • Directing Government Accountability Office to produce a report on the Foreign Medical Program to evaluate whether the program is adequately meeting the needs of overseas veterans.

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