Senate passes VA reform bill for clinics in Lafayette, Lake Char - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Senate passes VA reform bill for clinics in Lafayette, Lake Charles

(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)

The U.S. Senate passed a bill Thursday that will reform the Veterans Affairs Administration and allow for the authorization of VA outpatient clinics in Lake Charles and Lafayette.

The legislation passed by a 91-to-3 vote and now heads to the President's desk for his expected signature.

“Today, we changed the light from red to green to build a permanent clinic in Lake Charles to provide quality and local health care for veterans in Southwest Louisiana," Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said in a news release. "It has taken longer than it should have, but I was proud to work with Rep. (Charles) Boustany and lead our delegation’s efforts to keep the promise made to the 20,000 veterans who call Lake Charles home."

“I’ve worked for years to get these clinics authorized," Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said in a news release. "This is a big, big win for veterans across Louisiana. Especially after this recent crisis surrounding the VA, we must regain the trust of our veterans and make sure they have the resources they need - and that means building the Lafayette and Lake Charles VA clinics. I’m setting up a meeting with the VA Secretary as soon as possible to make sure they expedite the building process. If not for their screw-ups, these clinics would have already been built.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill 420-5 on Wednesday.

The bill also includes other reforms such as allowing veterans who live more then 40 miles from a VA clinic or has waited for more than 30 days for an appointment to receive care from a private Medicare approved provider, provides $5 billion dollars to hire hundreds of additional doctors and nurses, gives leadership of the VA the authority to fire incompetent officials and increases transparency by requiring the VA to post wait times for scheduling appointments online.

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