Reforming The VA
The VA Choice and Quality Improvement Act was intended to be a short term strategy to prevent the Choice Program from imploding. The Choice Program addressed access, but was not a comprehensive approach that focused on bringing the VA system into the 21st century. My promise to veterans: I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Congress to modernize the VA. By doing so, we will significantly reduce wait times, improve quality of care, and decrease operational expenditures spent running outdated infrastructure.
My proposed legislative initiatives will include:
- Complete overhaul of the VA’s $2 billion IT infrastructure. Today’s latest and greatest IT technologies and talent have the potential to reduce operating expenses and unlock exciting technologies that will dramatically change the practice of healthcare by allowing us to take advantage of precision medicine, healthcare analytics, and wearable devices. It will also ensure that veterans’ healthcare records are protected against 21st century cybersecurity threats.
- Attracting top healthcare industry talent to inner city VA hospitals: To get the best nurses, doctors, and facility care experts into the ranks of the VA system, we need to ensure that human capital is attracted and retained. I will propose improvements to the workplace environment at all VA hospitals to create a place where the best people want to come to work.
- Continuing to fund the Choice Program to serve veterans located in remote areas. I believe that this program is a short term, cost effective way to ensure that veterans who are not located near VA healthcare facilities receive the care that they need. I believe it is in our best interests to continue funding this program while we modernize the larger VA system. As wait times go down at primary VA facilities due to other modernization initiatives, I would like to ensure that there is a transparent process for measuring the trend, and that funding not used for the Choice Program as a result of these improvements gets reinvested in capital improvements to VA infrastructure for the foreseeable future.