News Release — Rep. Peter Welch
July 23, 2013
Montpelier — At the Brown-Johnson VFW Hall in Montpelier today, Rep. Peter Welch announced bipartisan legislation that requires the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to better coordinate the transfer of soldiers’ medical records as they transition from active-duty to veterans status. Veterans currently experience lengthy waiting periods to access VA benefits due to bureaucratic delays in the transfer of records between the two departments.
“After courageously serving our country, returning soldiers are left to battle an inefficient bureaucracy resulting in frustrating delays in accessing benefits and medical care,” said Welch. “In the modern age of technology, this is completely unacceptable. These men and women sacrificed in service of our country and are entitled to a seamless transition that meets all of their needs.”
While the Department of Veterans Affairs has made significant improvements in its health records system, the Department of Defense system is inadequate. The 21st Century Healthcare for Heroes Act (H.R. 2590) requires both agencies to seamlessly integrate their medical records into an efficient electronic system that works for every soldier. The bill’s chief sponsors are Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL). It currently has 44 sponsors in the House.
This bill is part of a legislative agenda introduced by The Problem Solver’s coalition in Congress, a bipartisan group co-founded and co-chaired by Rep. Welch. The group is committed to ending Congressional gridlock.