August 18, 2014
By Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – President Obama's signing of the Veterans Access Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 will provide billions of dollars in resources to improve the staffing levels and facilities at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The legislation paves the way for new hiring that can begin to address the chronic short staffing of doctors nurses and support personnel. This will assist in getting veterans in the door to receive the top notch care they have earned — care that veterans regularly choose over the option of going outside the VA.
"President Obama's deep commitment to improving veterans' care is another critical step in fulfilling the promise to our nation's heroes" said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. "As this bill becomes law we must continue to move forward in implementing needed changes to the VA healthcare system that veterans depend on."
In addition to emergency funding to improve staffing levels the bill also provides vital resources for funding new facility leases treatment of traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma and improved educational benefits. AFGE and other labor organizations are planning to work closely with the administration and the agency to ensure that the bill's provisions are implemented effectively on the front lines of patient care.
"The voices of the 220000 VA employees represented by AFGE must continue to be heard if VA is going to make meaningful changes and remain on track" said AFGE National VA Council President Alma Lee. "As the nation moves into the next phase of VA reform we must not forget the bravery of front-line employee whistleblowers who risked their careers to speak out for our heroes."