WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Veterans’ Affairs Committee members Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) today introduced the Guaranteeing Healthcare Access to Personnel Who Served (GHAPS) Act 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 codify programs that have been successful for veterans, 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 that often leave behind rural and highly rural veterans, community care veterans and overseas veterans.
“Those who served our country in the armed services earned benefits. My goal is that they receive those benefits that they earned,” said Dr. Cassidy.
“Whether a veteran lives in Manhattan, Kansas, or Manhattan, New York, the VA should work to find solutions to meet their unique health care needs,” said Senator Moran. “Following the implementation of the MISSION Act and the Hannon Act, we now know the programs that have been successful in the effort to care for hard-to-reach veterans. The GHAPS Act makes certain they will continue to have access to these programs no matter where they live for years to come.”
This legislation would close VA health care gaps by:
- Codifying MISSION access standards to protect veteran eligibility for MISSION’s Veterans Community Care Program.
- Creating access standards for community care delivery to make certain veterans receive timely care in the community.
- 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 the 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.