Senate passes $5.2 billion bill to expand VA private sector care

In an overwhelming majority, the Senate approved the VA Mission Act changing private sector care options for veterans.

Passing with a 92-5 vote, the bill was cleared within just a matter of one week after passing in the House with a vote of 347-70. The $52 billion reform legislation will change the Department of Veteran Affairs- VA, and this includes how veterans can take benefit and access the healthcare in the private sector. It is also aimed at improving information sharing between community providers and VA doctors.

It will require the VA to create a process to ensure that private sector providers get an access to relevant patient medical history, which will include prescribed medications. The aim is to curb opioid abuse among the veterans.

The bill gives legislative authority to the VA’s Anywhere-to-Anywhere telemedicine program, which was launched by former VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, and President Donald Trump. According to this bill, contracted providers will have to submit medical records of any care or services furnished, which includes records of the prescriptions for opioid, to VA in a lifetime and also in a format specified by VA. The VA will have to record all prescriptions into the EHR.