WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement after the Senate approved legislation last night to fund the Department of Veteran Affairs’ (V-A) Veterans Choice Program and authorize 28 delayed V-A medical facility leases?:
"The Veterans Choice Program was meant to reduce wait times and give veterans a broader range of options to access quality health care in their communities. The legislation the Senate approved last night, which now heads to the President's desk for his signature, provides $2.1 billion to continue funding the Choice program for six months. It also provides $1.8 billion to address longstanding staffing needs at V-A hospitals, including Hampton VAMC. ?
"Moreover, it authorizes more than two dozen leases for new V-A medical facilities across the country, which has been one of my top priorities. This is long-overdue. It includes two new outpatient clinics in Hampton Roads -- which has one of the fastest-growing patient populations in the V-A system -- and in Fredericksburg, which will ease the burden at existing V-A facilities and allow veterans to receive treatment closer to their homes. These steps move us forward in our commitment to our nation's veterans."
For more than a year, Sen. Warner has been spearheading
a bipartisan effort in Congress to approve the overdue medical leases. In September 2016, he led a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Providing Veterans Overdue Care Act to authorize leases for 24 Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities in 15 states, most of which had already been waiting for congressional approval for more than a year. At the beginning of the new Congress in January 2017, Sen. Warner teamed up with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) to reintroduce?