To Keep VA Hospitals Open, Congress Approves Transfer Of Funds From Choice Card Program

The Department of Veterans Affairs will receive the budget reallocation it needs to avoid facility shutdowns after the Senate’s last-minute … Continued

To Keep VA Hospitals Open, Congress Approves Transfer Of Funds From Choice Card Program

The Department of Veterans Affairs will receive the budget reallocation it needs to avoid facility shutdowns after the Senate’s last-minute deal was passed on Thursday. This comes a week after Secretary Bob McDonald spoke with Congress on Capitol Hill and warned that tens of thousands of veterans would have their health care disrupted if the budget wasn’t fixed.

The measure allows the VA to use roughly $3.3 billion in funds assigned to the new Choice Card Program to cover other areas, something that Congress has been resistant to agree to for the last year. In addition, the language will be changed so that all outside care efforts fall under a single “Veterans Choice Program,” in order to limit bureaucracy and allow for greater flexibility. The agreement also requires the VA to submit biweekly reports to Congress on how the transferred funds are being spent.

“We’re in this situation, quite frankly, because of gross ineptitude in planning that can only be characterized as malpractice in management,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. “Congress cannot be expected to continue to bail out VA because of mismanagement.”

James Clark

James Clarkis the Deputy Editor of Task & Purpose and a Marine veteran. He oversees daily editorial operations, edits articles, and supports reporters so they can continue to write the impactful stories that matter to our audience. In terms of writing, James provides a mix of pop culture commentary and in-depth analysis of issues facing the military and veterans community. Contact the author here.

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