Jun 1 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Boozman (R-AR), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) introduced the Guaranteeing Healthcare Access to Personnel Who Served (GHAPS) Act that would address gaps in veteran health care to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is serving veterans in hard-to-reach places.

This legislation works to codify programs that have been successful for veterans, remove bureaucratic barriers to care and mandate a VA telehealth strategy to incorporate and apply lessons learned during the pandemic to close the gaps in VA health care that often leave behind rural and highly rural veterans, community care veterans and overseas veterans.   

“While we have made great strides in providing veterans with better health care, some veterans in rural communities still face challenges in accessing care,” said Senator Tillis. “This legislation will help fill in the gaps and ensure that all veterans have access to timely and quality care, regardless of where they live. I am proud to work on this legislation with my colleagues and will always work hard for our servicemembers and veterans.”

The American Legion and America’s Warrior Partnership have endorsed this legislation.

This legislation would close VA health care gaps by:

  • Codifying MISSION access standards to protect veteran eligibility for MISSION’s Veterans Community Care Program.
  • Creating access standards for community care delivery to make certain veterans receive timely care in the community.
  • Directing VA to create a telehealth strategic plan to ensure the department is deploying virtual care thoughtfully and utilizing innovative solutions to deliver telehealth to rural veterans.
  • Ensuring all veterans with treatment-resistant depression have access to the necessary evidence-based care to put them on the path to recovery.
  • Cutting the red tape for VA research by removing the Paperwork Reduction Act requirements; ensuring veterans benefit from more timely research-informed care.
  • Directing Government Accountability Office to produce a report on the Foreign Medical Program to evaluate whether the program is adequately meeting the needs of overseas veterans.