Photo: Texas Monthly

O’Rourke Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Remove Hurdles in Veteran Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. — April 29, 2016 — Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) today introduced the Vet Connect Act with Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Health, Congressman Dan Benishek, M.D. (R-MI).

“At a time when the VA has 43,000 unfilled positions, referring care out to the community is as important as ever,” said O’Rourke. “Our legislation would give doctors the full picture of a veteran’s health and allow them to make better medical recommendations. Moreover, it lets veterans focus on getting healthy rather than filling out bureaucratic paperwork.”

This bipartisan legislation would reduce bureaucratic red tape at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to more easily share a veteran’s full medical record with doctors outside of the VA who are directly involved in that veteran’s medical care.

“As a doctor, I understand that in order to properly treat a patient, medical professionals must have access to a patient’s full medical record,” said Dr. Benishek. “Without it, you cannot make informed decisions about what medical treatment is in the best interest of the patient. This common sense legislation will help eliminate the hurdles doctors face when trying to provide veterans care outside of the VA system.”

The current model involves a series of bureaucratic steps that make it difficult for veterans to get their medical records to community doctors outside the VA. As a result, community doctors aren’t getting a veteran’s entire medical record. This prevents the doctor from making the best possible decisions for medical care.