AAOS May 15, 2018
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Veterans Affairs’ Committee Passes VA MISSION Act and More

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Veterans Affairs’ Committee Passes VA MISSION Act and More

On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs passed 16 bills out of committee, including the VA MISSION Act and the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act. H.R. 5674, the Department of Veterans Affairs Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks, or VA MISSION Act, includes three pieces of legislation that have been considered by either the House or Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs. The bill includes strong prompt payment language that will help ensure orthopaedic surgeons are able to take care of veterans in their communities. Additionally, the bill would streamline the department’s duplicative community care programs into one cohesive program; create a non-partisan process for reviewing VA’s assets to ensure veterans can access the care they have earned and expand the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Post-9/11 Caregiver Program to all eras. It also allows for medical record sharing with community providers and makes it easier for VA providers to participate in PDMPs.

“Today, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs doubled down on our promise to build a stronger VA for our nation’s heroes and ensure veterans are receiving the care and benefits they deserve by passing the VA MISSION Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation supported by leading veterans service organizations, VA and the White House,” stated Chairman Phil Roe, MD (R-TN). “This is a transformational, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform VA, and I am so proud of the strong support this bill received in today’s markup.”

The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has been consistently working with the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health on a number of related issues, including lower extremity injuries among veteran patients within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). For example, on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, orthopaedic surgeon Col. James Ficke, MD (ret.) testified on behalf of the AAOS and the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) (read more in Advocacy Now here). He expressed that podiatrists are an essential part of the care team at the VA and provide excellent service to Veterans, but explained that podiatrists and orthopaedic surgeons are trained differently. AAOS advocated for changes to legislation, and the altered language was included in the final VA MISSION Act.

The following is a list of all the bills were passed out of committee:

  • H.R. 299: The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017
  • H.R. 5674: The Department of Veterans Affairs Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks “MISSION” Act
  • H.R. 1972: The VA Billing Accountability Act
  • H.R. 2147: The Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act
  • H.R. 3642: Military Sexual Assault Victims Empowerment (SAVE) Act
  • H.R. 3832: The Veterans Opioid Abuse Prevention Act
  • H.R. 4635: To direct the secretary of Veterans Affairs to increase the number of peer-to-peer counselors providing counseling for women veterans
  • H.R. 5520: The Veterans Affairs Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018
  • H.R. 4245: The Veterans’ Electronic Health Record Modernization Oversight Act of 2017
  • HR 4334: The Improving Oversight of Women Veterans’ Care Act of 2017
  • H.R. 4451: The Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Programs Reauthorization Act of 2017
  • H.R. 4830: The Servicemembers Improved Transition through Reforms for Ensuring Progress (SIT-REP) Act
  • H.R. 4958: The Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2018
  • H.R. 5044: The Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act
  • H.R. 5215: The Veterans Affairs Purchase Card Misuse Mitigation Act
  • H.R. 5418: The Veterans Affairs Medical-Surgical Purchasing Stabilization Act