WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald’s visit to the Cincinnati VA Medical Center, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – a senior member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee – released the following statement:
“Our nation’s veterans deserve the highest quality of care possible and a VA that works as a partner in achieving better health outcomes,” Brown said. “The recent reforms passed by Congress must be implemented to ensure increased accountability among senior officials and to provide the VA with the resources necessary to hire more health care providers and reduce excessive wait times. As we await the Inspector General’s full report on the state of VA facilities, I stand ready to work with Secretary McDonald to ensure these reforms are implemented throughout the VA system.”
As the only Ohio Senator to serve a full term on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Brown has introduced a package of key legislative proposals aimed at addressing issues facing Ohio veterans. In July, Brown announced House introduction of his Mental-health Exposure Military Official Record Act (MEMORy Act) – a revised version of the Significant Event Tracker (SET) Act. The legislation would ensure that unit commanders document events that individual service members are exposed to which might later be connected to PTS, mTBI, or other injuries.
In response to the disability claims backlog, Brown has helped secure record funds and staffing for the VA to combat the backlog. In November 2013, Brown announced that key provisions of his Veterans Services Outreach (VSO) Act passed the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. The Act would require the VA to notify veterans filing claims electronically that they can receive help and important time-saving information that could significantly reduce their wait time. In August, Brown announced that he would also work to pass the Claims Processing Improvement Act of 2013, legislation that would hold the VA accountable by requiring it to publically report information on both its projected monthly goals and actual production so that Congress and the public knows if the VA is working toward eliminating its backlog. The bill would also establish a task force to hire and train claims processors, and develop tactics to attack and eliminate the backlog.