Titus Speaks in Support of the Veteran Access to Care Act

Jun 10, 2014
Floor Statements

June 10, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Today Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada’s First District spoke on the House Floor in support of H.R. 4810, the Veteran Access to Care Act. Below are her remarks: 

“As a Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, I rise in support of H.R. 4810. This important legislation will allow our nation’s heroes to access health care outside of the VA for the next two years. 

“If even one veteran who has been waiting a long time for an appointment through the VA is able to receive care more quickly in the private sector, then we should give him or her that opportunity. 

“But this alone won’t solve the problem—more must be done. We have known for a while that VA facilities across the United States do not have enough doctors and nurses on staff to meet the growing demand for care, but this is not a problem that is just isolated to the VA.  

“As I discussed in our hearing last night, allowing veterans to access care in the private sector will help in some parts of the United States, but in many cities and rural areas across the country, there is also a shortage in care in the private sector. 

“In Nevada for example, we have for a long time had a chronic shortage of doctors, both in primary care and among specialists. When comparing the number of healthcare workers relative to state population, Nevada ranks 46th in the nation for general and family practitioners, 50th for psychiatrists, and 51st for general surgeons. So as a result, veterans are not the only ones who are waiting for health care; everyone is affected. 

“Adding more patients to an already overburdened system will not be a panacea. 

“And that’s why I’m working with Members of this Committee on legislation that will shore up our VA health care system by increasing the number of medical residency programs at VA hospitals in areas that are facing a physician shortage. By increasing our investment in physician training, we’ll not only help our veterans in the short run, but we’ll be taking a step toward addressing the long-term, nationwide physician shortage.

“I hope that I’ll find support for that as we move forward. I thank the Chairman for his work on this important issue, and I yield back.”