LoBiondo Re-Introduces “Veterans Health ID Act”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Seeking to expand on measurable progress over the past year in securing additional healthcare services locally for South Jersey veterans, U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today re-introduced his “Veterans Health ID Act” (H.R. 763) to create a pilot program “under which eligible veterans may elect to receive hospital care and medical services at non-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities.”
“From new services such as tele-health to additional staffing at our community-based outpatient clinics, veterans care in South Jersey has measurably improved in the past year. However, some veterans must still travel out of state to receive comprehensive VA treatment, despite medical facilities capable and willing to do such care closer to home,” said LoBiondo. “This is the mission that never ends. I applaud the unwavering efforts of local advocates who have long agreed that our veterans should have the choice in where they receive treatment. While hardship waivers my office has sought for our veterans are being carefully reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis, my legislation would give all South Jersey veterans the final choice in their care.”
LoBiondo’s bill would require the VA to establish a pilot program in each of the twenty-one (21) Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN) that grants an eligible veteran a “unique identification card” that allows for medical care at non-VA facilities at the VA’s expense. Furthermore, LoBiondo’s legislation specifically states that New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District will be one of the pilot programs. South Jersey is part of VISN 4. The pilot programs would need to be established and operating within one year of LoBiondo’s bill being signed into law.
Throughout his time in office LoBiondo has sought to increase local access and health services at community-based care facilities for South Jersey veterans. Earlier this year he joined with VA official in the ribbon-cutting ceremony of a new Cumberland County community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC) in Vineland. Discussions are currently underway with local elected officials and veterans’ associations to find a location in Cape May County for construction of a new CBOC later this year.