November 10, 2015

Rep. Ruben Gallego to Introduce Bill to Improve Veterans Health Care Services

Washington, DC –Rep. Ruben Gallego and four cosponsors announced that they will introduce the Delivering Opportunities for Care and Services (DOCS) for Veterans Act to improve medical services and care for our nation's veterans.

The bill will enhance opportunities for the VA to partner with local affiliates to train providers. It will also take steps to improve recruitment by the VA and boost incentives for those who practice in underserved areas, bolstering the VA medical workforce and ultimately enhancing the quality of care for veterans.

The bill will also improve the support system for veterans and their families by including mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists in the VA's training program. By removing barriers to mental health care, the bill will allow veterans greater access to critical family resources and support.

The bill is a House companion bill to S. 1676, introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT).

The bill's original cosponsors include Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Mike Honda (D-AZ), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Elizabeth Esty (D-CT).

Congressman Ruben Gallego issued the following statement:

"While bipartisan reform efforts have been an important first step in addressing inexcusable backlogs and getting our veterans the care they need now, I know that real and lasting reform means going further. We need to take a big-picture approach on issues that have plagued the VA for decades and were further compounded by the failure of Congress to adequately fund the VA as a new generation of veterans – my generation – returned from service with unique needs.

"That's why I'm proud to introduce the Delivering Opportunities for Care and Services for Veterans Act – the DOCS for Vets Act. This bill will take needed steps to bringing the VA into the 21st century and equipping it with the tools it badly needs to be able to successfully serve our veterans.

"I'm not going to stop fighting to improve care for veterans in Phoenix and across the country. The DOCS for Vets Act is a smart solution for vets and their families. I want to thank Senator Tester for his leadership on this issue in the Senate, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to push this commonsense legislation in the House."