BEND, OR -- Congress continues to work to reform the Veterans Administration, in an effort to improve medical care for vets. Oregon Congressman Greg Walden met with local vets Tuesday, for the second time in two months, to hear how it's going.
He told the group lawmakers are making progress, but there is more work to be done. "I think we resolved the issues of open communication and the 40-mile rule is now in legislation and not just directive, and now we have to march through and build the network," Walden said.
Last week, President Obama signed legislation clarifying the rule that allows vets to seek medical care at local facilities if they live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA hospital. "That, among other things, means 40 miles as you drive it, and it allows discretion throughout the agency when it comes to weather, travel hazards and medical conditions. That's important in Central Oregon, traveling over the Cascades in the winter," Walden said.
He told vets it's a $10 billion rollout of a program that only started six months ago, which he said is fast government. Walden did say there are many kinks yet to be worked out.