Jul 30, 2014 at 9:17 am
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) Congressional negotiators have reached agreement on a 17-billion dollar emergency spending package to reform the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs.
The V-A took a black eye earlier this year amid reports of staffing issues and waiting lists that reportedly led to the deaths of some veterans seeking care at V-A facilities in Phoenix.
Minnesota U.S. Senator Al Franken says the bill does some, "very good things," including $10 billion in funding for veterans to seek government-subsidized health care from doctors outside the V-A system if they live more than 40 miles from the nearest V-A center.
The bill also provides money for the V-A to hire more doctors and nurses and open more facilities.
The agreement comes on the same week the Seante approved the confirmation of former Proctor and Gamble CEO Robert McDonald to replace Eric Shinseki as V-A secretary. Shinseki resigned in May.
Asked if the changes will restore the public's confidence in the V-A system, Franken said, "I hope so. Things like that don't happen overnight. But this is a good start."
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