Bennet Seeks Reforms to VA Choice Program

Two Bills Improve Quality of Care and Accountability

Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet introduced two pieces of legislation to improve the quality of care for veterans. The first bill aims to reform the VA Choice Program and improve care in communities by minimizing logistical burdens, reducing out-of-pocket costs, and expediting care for veterans. The second bill increases the oversight and accountability of VA contractors.

"Community care allows Colorado veterans, especially those in rural areas, to receive health care in a way that makes sense for them," Bennet said. "Based on feedback from veterans across Colorado, this legislation makes important reforms to the Choice Program by cutting red tape and increasing accountability to ensure those who served our country receive the care they deserve."

The Veterans Choice Program Improvement Act authorizes the VA to be the primary payer under the Choice Program, allowing veterans access to more timely care in their own communities.

Specifically, the bipartisan bill would:

  • Simplify out-of-pocket costs for veterans;
  • Improve medical record sharing between the VA and community providers in the Choice Program in a more timely manner; 
  • Align the Choice Program with the VA's other community care programs;
  • Allow for faster reimbursements for community providers to reduce providers' frustrations and remove barriers to participating in the Choice Program; and 
  • Extend the Choice Program to ensure that veterans' access to care is not disrupted.

The VA Performance Accountability and Contractor Transparency (PACT) Act increases oversight and accountability of private companies that contract with the VA to provide services for veterans.

The VA spends billions annually on contracts for IT work, health care, construction, and more. The PACT Act would require the VA to make public all contracts over $100 million-including the VA HealthNet contract-and require contracted companies to report their progress to Congress.

Specifically, the PACT Act would:

  • Require VA contracts to include a plan of action and milestones, along with metrics tracking cost, schedule, and services rendered;
  • Require contractors to document their progress and provide performance updates to the VA, Congress, and certain oversight committees; and
  • Allow the Secretary of the VA the authority to penalize contractors if their performance does not meet standards.

Click HERE to read the Veterans Choice Program Improvement Act.

Click HERE to read the VA Performance Accountability and Contractor Transparency Act.