House Easily Approves Bill to Speed Vets' Care - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

House Easily Approves Bill to Speed Vets' Care

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The House has overwhelmingly approved legislation to allow patients facing long waits for care at Veterans Affairs facilities to get VA-paid treatment from local doctors.
 
Tuesday's 421-0 vote was Congress' latest response to the outcry over backlogs and falsified data at the VA.
 
The bill is similar to a broader measure that the Senate plans to debate soon.
 
The action comes with the VA reeling from growing evidence that workers fabricated data on veterans' waits for medical appointments in an effort to mask frequent, long delays.
 
A VA audit this week showed that more than 57,000 new patients waited at least three months for initial appointments.
 
Republican Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, says the VA's handling of patients is a national disgrace. 

Meanwhile, after reviewing a report by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Inspector General on the Reno VA Regional Office (VARO), U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) today called for the resignation of Ed Russell, Director of the Reno VARO. The Reno VARO is responsible for processing benefits claims for veterans living throughout the state of Nevada. 

“Enough is enough,” said Senator Dean Heller. “Ed Russell should either resign or the Department of Veterans Affairs should take immediate steps to ensure his removal. The Reno VARO has consistently topped the charts as one of the worst-performing regional offices in the nation, and, just today, a report from the VA Inspector General asserts that these problems have persisted due to poor management.

“Nevada veterans should not be forced to wait for their disability benefits due to management’s bad decisions. There are hard-working men and women who show up every day at the Reno VARO in order to help Nevada’s veterans, but unfortunately Ed Russell’s poor management practices are impeding progress.”

(The Associated Press also contributed to this report.)
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