Motion to Instruct Conferees on H.R. 3230, Pay Our Guard and Reserve Actby Representative Ann Kirkpatrick
Posted on 2014-07-25
KIRKPATRICK. Congressman Rahall, thank you for your strong
support of one of the most important provisions in the Senate
amendments to H.R. 3230.
Mr. Speaker, I urge all my colleagues to support this motion to instruct the conferees. Both the Senate and the House amendments will expand access to non-VA care for veterans, but this program will only last for 2 years.
It will only address the current emergency by ensuring those veterans who are waiting too long for appointments receive timely care. If we do not address the VA's doctor, nurse, and medical support staff shortage now, we will face the same crisis again in 2 years.
Just yesterday, I learned that the one physician serving the community- [[Page H6849]] based outpatient clinic in Flagstaff, Arizona, where I live, is leaving, and there is no physician identified as his replacement.
In another VA clinic in my district, the one doctor there is planning to retire, without a replacement doctor identified.
Our rural veterans struggle to access care, and VA hospitals and clinics must be able to recruit and retain doctors and nurses to serve veterans in rural and underserved communities.
Currently, 10 percent of all health care provider positions in the VA remain unfilled. By ensuring that the VA has the ability to quickly hire doctors and nurses and fill these positions, we help the VA ensure it has the capacity to provide timely, world-class care to our veterans before this 2-year program ends.
As a member of the conference committee, I strongly believe that the negotiations between the House and the Senate must continue. We need to put political differences aside and maintain our focus on the veterans we are here to serve.