VFW Delivers Testimony Focused on Fixing the VA
Today’s testimony caps the VFW Legislative Conference
March 02, 2016
Watch VFW National Commander John Biedrzycki Jr.'s testimony now!
WASHINGTON – Today, before a joint
hearing of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees, John A. Biedrzycki
Jr., national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., delivered
testimony focused on recommendations for transforming the Department of
Veterans Affairs to provide America’s veterans with a more effective and
efficient health care system. With 25 committee members in attendance, he also
used today’s opportunity to communicate the VFW’s position on potential efforts
to move toward privatized VA care.
“We agree that Congress must
take a comprehensive look at the Veterans Health Administration to fix what is
broken, and we will work with you to identify problems and make those needed
changes,” said Biedrzycki. “But let me be clear, the VFW is absolutely opposed
to the privatization of VA health care! It cannot be replaced! And we will
fight any efforts to do so!”
Biedrzycki went on to note
that while the VA’s outreach efforts surrounding the Choice Program have
improved, the delay of medical documentation transfers and authorization for
follow-up care still leaves much room for improvement in scheduling community
“VA is working on several IT
projects to address this concern, which the VFW supports,” he noted. “Congress
must provide VA the necessary resources that have been requested. Congress
must also act on VA’s proposal to consolidate its community care programs. This
consolidation is critical to the overall health care delivery transformation.”
The VFW national commander
pledged the organization’s support for VA Secretary Bob McDonald’s MyVA
transformation, and strongly urged Congress to work with the VA to ensure the
numerous programs associated with this initiative succeed.
He also took today’s
opportunity to convey some important findings derived from a recent survey
conducted by the organization to gauge how well the VA is serving women
veterans. The survey found that the VA has made progress in addressing the
unique needs of women, but improvement is still needed in the areas of health
care, outreach and homelessness.
Results indicated that women
prefer to receive care from female providers, and are more likely to be
satisfied with their overall VA experience when receiving care from a female
provider, yet only 40 percent of women were given the opportunity to choose the
gender of their primary care provider.
“VA must make every effort to hire more women health care
professionals and expand women-specific programs to ensure all women veterans
have access to women-specific primary care,” said Biedrzycki.
The survey also indicated 38 percent of those who reported
being homeless or at risk of homelessness also reported having children.
Homeless veterans with children experience unique challenges when obtaining VA
health care and other benefits and services, to include job training
opportunities. According to the national commander, “We must find child care options
for these veterans now!”
He went on to note the VFW’s support for a variety of topics
to include the inclusion of Blue Water Navy ships for the purposes of Agent
Orange presumption, expanding eligibility for Gulf War Registry health exams to
Afghanistan war veterans, and the Fort McClellan Health Registry Act.
Video of today's testimony will be available at www.vfw.org/VFWDC2016 today
at 2 p.m. (EST). Read
the full testimony.
Today’s testimony marks the
end of the 2016 VFW Legislative Conference,
where approximately 500 VFW leaders traveled to the
nation’s capital to discuss various veterans issues, as well as the VFW’s
expectations of lawmakers.
More notable events from the
A VFW-hosted dinner at the
National Press Club for more than 90 wounded warriors and caregivers from Walter
Reed National Military Medical Center, along with their families.
To be awarded this evening to
House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) the VFW
Congressional Award in recognition of his efforts to improve the VA’s ability to
deliver timely and quality health care.
To be awarded this evening to
Pentagon-based, Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin the
VFW News Media Award for her efforts to help America better understand the
foreign and domestic threats to America.
Grayson Campbell, sponsored
by VFW Post 10555 in Panama CityBeach, Fla.,
was named the VFW Voice of Democracy competition first-place winner, earning
him the T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship of $30,000.
Shane Stafford, sponsored by
VFW Post 10468 in Searchlight, Nev., earned a $5,000 award when he was named
the first-place winner of the VFW’s annual Patriot’s Pen contest.
BACK TO NEWS >