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Recent reports of patients dying while awaiting care and growing evidence that employees have been faking records to hide how long patients are waiting thrust the VA into the spotlight and led to widespread calls for reform.
Miller says proposed bill would help solve VA 'crisis'
While no clinics will be built in Northwest Florida, some funds will be used to hire new medical providers at existing facilities, which could mean additional staff Puma By Rihanna Sneakers
Miller has been a stalwart for reform and oversight at the agency, but until Monday, legislation had failed to gain bipartisan support.
Miller, the Northwest Florida Republican and chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, announced the deal alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent who chairs the Senate VA Committee, at the Capitol on Monday.
would be "wonderful" if the bill allowed more psychiatrists to be hired at the Eglin clinic.
in Northwest Florida, the fastest growing area for the VA in the state.
Congressman Jeff Miller has announced a bipartisan $17 billion deal to fix the Veterans Affairs department, recently scandalized by long patient wait times and records that were falsified to cover up delays in care.
The $10 billion would allow VA patients waiting over 30 days for appointments or living more than 40 miles from a VA facility to seek care from a private medical provider. The VA would foot the bill.
According to a snapshot of wait times taken on July 1, the Gulf Coast Veterans Healthcare System, which oversees the clinics in Northwest Florida, had about 9,730 patients waiting over 30 days for an appointment. The system also oversees a clinic in Mobile as well as a hospital in Biloxi.
"We have a VA that is in crisis," Miller said during the announcement. "This agreement will go a long way to helping resolve the crisis that exists today."
Cyndy Walker, whose husband is an Afghanistan combat war veteran with extreme post traumatic stress disorder, said it Puma Suede Classic Peacoat/White
Local veterans and family members were feeling hopeful after the announcement.
Rice acknowledged the $10 billion to pay private doctors was an expensive option.
measure was put in place to cap costs that were sure to skyrocket far beyond the $17 billion allotment.
Walker's husband is still working to get his medication stabilized and when there are problems, his need to be seen can be dire. If she can't get in at the Eglin clinic, it could quickly lead to a trip to the emergency room or even hospitalization.
Tom Rice, himself an Army veteran and a strong advocate for Northwest Florida veterans, was excited. He hears often from veterans who are having trouble getting care, including one recently who told him he was waiting weeks to get replacements for his worn out wheelchair wheels.
Only veterans registered by Aug. 1 will be eligible under the bill. That Puma X Careaux Blaze Of Glory
None of the proposed new clinics would be located in Northwest Florida, which already has a clinic outside Eglin Air Force Base, one in Panama City Puma Suede Classic Mint and one in Pensacola.
She said it appears only one works there now and the usual wait time for a check up is about two months.
"But, you can't wait to get people the care they need while buildings are being built and the program is getting beefed up," Rice said.
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