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Congress Approves Veterans Health Legislation

On July 30, the House passed, 420-5, the conference report for H.R. 3230, the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act. The Senate approved the report by a vote of 91-3 on July 31. The conference report resolves differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation. The Senate passed the bill on June 11 (see The Source, 6/13/14) and the House passed its version on June 18 (see The Source, 6/20/14). The approval of the conference report clears the measure for President Obama’s signature.

Drafted in response to reports that health care providers at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) centers had falsified records of appointment wait times, H.R. 3230 would authorize “such sums as may be necessary” through FY2016 to improve VA’s provision of health care services to veterans.

According to an explanatory statement by the conference committee, the measure, among other provisions, expands eligibility for sexual trauma counseling to veterans on inactive duty training.

Additionally, the measure requires VA to submit to Congress no later than 630 days from the date of enactment a report comparing the treatment and services available for male and female veterans who experience military sexual trauma (MST).

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