Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Approves Hirono Provisions to Expand Health Care Access

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, voted in support of bipartisan legislation to continue funding for veterans’ health care programs, and improve the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Choice Program. The bill included several of Senator Hirono’s provisions to increase Hawaii veterans’ access to health care services, and passed the committee 14-1.

“The bipartisan legislation approved by the Veterans’ Affairs Committee today will help to ensure Hawaii veterans can access high quality VA care and health services when they need it, where they need it,” said Senator Hirono. “This bill gives our veterans more options, and I will continue to fight see it passed by the full Senate and signed into law so that Hawaii veterans can access the care they need from a strong, well-resourced VA system.”

The following Hirono provisions were included in the bill:

  • Language from the VETS Act, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Hirono and Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) that would allow veterans to access VA telemedicine services from providers across state lines.
  • A provision to protect veterans’ access to care at Native Hawaiian Health Centers.
  • A provision including Native Hawaiian Health Care Centers as eligible entities for a new pilot program promoting VA medical residency training in rural areas.

“We’d like to thank Senator Hirono for her steadfast efforts to defend Native Hawaiian programs including the healthcare benefits that our Native Hawaiian veterans have earned with their service,” said Dr. Sheri-Ann Daniels, Executive Director of Papa Ola Lokahi. “Senator Hirono’s legislation to preserve NHHCS agreements with the VA will allow us to continue our efforts to improve access to healthcare and reach more veteran clients. We also appreciate her work to include NHHCS in the VA’s graduate medical residency training programs which will help strengthen Hawaii’s medical workforce. ”

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