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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Potter County Commissioner Heimel Traveling To New Orleans To Advocate For Veterans Health Care

Potter County Commissioner Heimel Traveling To New Orleans To Advocate For Veterans Health Care

The Time Is Right
Alternative Service Delivery for Veterans Health Care
(NACo Proposed Platform Amendment Attached)


BACKGROUND
Even before the recent concerns were raised over the VA health care delivery systems, some local leaders were encouraging the federal government to pursue more VA partnerships with local health care providers. In view of recent reports and revelations, the argument for these strategic partnerships has been strengthened.

It’s important to point out that the VA already has in place a fee-basis service option through which a veteran, under certain circumstances, can receive outside treatment (regardless of condition) at the VA’s expense.

We are calling for legislation to expand the fee-basis program through policy changes and budget adjustments.

Counties have a vested interest in supporting Alternative Service Delivery. Shifting a larger share of the responsibility for veterans’ health care to community-based providers will not only allow improve veterans’ access to service and reduce delays – and those are the highest priorities -- it will also support economic development and jobs in the affected communities.

The Sanders/McCain VA Reform Bill passed by Congress calls for a “Choice Card” permitting veterans to access civilian care. I spoke on Monday, July 6, 2014, with Shanna Lawrie, legislative director for the U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. She said the funding and political challenges surrounding that bill (S. 2450, the Veterans Access to Care Through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014) are being discussed this week in a Senate/House conference. Congress is likely to pass amended legislation quickly, she said.

Please find attached the following:
1.) Senator Bernie Sanders’ (Chairman, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee) news release about S. 2450
2.) A pointed critique of S. 2450 by conservative commentator Betsy McCaughey.
3.) A copy of our NACo Proposed Platform Amendment Supporting Alternative Service Delivery for Veterans and Their Families.

We’re not convinced that S. 2450 in its current form is the appropriate solution, but we fully support the concepts behind the NACo Platform Amendment and we urge commissioners from across the nation to work in support of the alternate service delivery concepts.

Paul W. Heimel
Commissioner
Potter County, Pa.
Vice Chair, NACo Veterans and Military Service Committee
Phone: 814-274-8290, Ext. 203 (office); 814-203-7863 (cell)
Email: pheimel@pottercountypa.net

7 comments :

Anonymous said...

Wow! Impressive. Little Potter County running with the big dogs. Good luck and thank you.

Tim Cole said...

Paul Potter County has a great group of County Commissioners keep up the good work! Have you been following HR. 4810. I think it passed with out being bogged down with amendments? I am hoping the senate version is a little less constricting. Looks like that may be the case. I would love to see more posts on this issue. Thanks for all that you do.

Anonymous said...

Can our little Borough really afford this travel?

Anonymous said...

Can our little County not afford this travel? Lets face it. The local economy will get some much needed Rev. If these bills are passed. Potter County has way too many underserved Vets!

Anonymous said...

sometimes travel expenses are legitimate and worthwhile. this seems like one of those times.

Anonymous said...

nice vaca on our dime send us pics3001

Anonymous said...

Don't need no stinkin' travel or connection to the outside world. Everything is just fine in our little fish bowl here in the mountains. We think small, act small, and expect small. And we get what we deserve. For crying out loud... is that what Potter County has descended to? Maybe I am the exception but I am proud of Potter County and pretty impressed with this national leadership coming from my home county.