WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today applauded passage of the bipartisan Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 (S.2450). After recent reports of long wait times and fraudulent appointment practices at a number of VA facilities, the bill is designed to improve access to care, speed training and hiring of health care professionals and provide funding for new facilities nationwide including $7,280,000 for a medical facility in Brick, N.J.

"I've said many times that a grateful nation not only goes to a Veterans' Day observance or marches in a Memorial Day parade, but shows its gratitude in the opportunities and health care we provide our veterans," said Sen. Menendez. "Every NJ veteran should have timely access to the quality health care they deserve, and while this bill doesn't fix everything, it will help improve health care for our veterans."

He added: "I am also thankful this bill provides funding for a new facility in the Garden State that can help thousands of veterans. It is a win-win that we can improve care for those who are most deserving, while at the same time adding jobs in our state."

The bill will help alleviate wait times by:

  • Expediting the hiring of more healthcare professionals in order to fill understaffed positions.
  • Providing expedited authority to remove senior executives for poor performance.
  • Allowing veterans who either live outside a 40 mile radius from any VA facility or whose wait time exceeds the VA's acceptable wait time standards to use certain private healthcare services.
  • Providing authorized funding for 26 major medical facility leases nationwide, including $7,280,000 for a new facility in Brick, NJ.
  • Making improvements to the VA appointment scheduling system.
  • Improving access to counseling and treatment for victims of sexual trauma, and provide in-state tuition for eligible veterans using tuition assistance.