With an eye toward reducing the heavy economic burden stemming from patients visiting emergency rooms needlessly, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) is pitching legislation that would require the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to pay for care provided to veterans in urgent care centers. Representative Clay Higgins (R-LA) plans to introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives. As written, the Veterans Emergency Room Relief Act of 2017 seeks to:

  • Pave the way for veterans to receive care from nationally accredited urgent care facilities that have entered into a contract with the VA
  • Provide veterans greater access to healthcare in their communities
  • Decrease the demand for overburdened emergency rooms at VA hospitals
  • Reduce the time it takes to receive common and acute care
  • Potentially reduce the overall cost of providing timely nonemergency care
  • Require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit a report every 2 years about urgent care utilization and the impact on emergency room facilities in the department

The Urgent Care Association of America has expressed strong support for the legislation.

Bill Would Help Pay ‘Reasonable Costs’ for Veterans to Visit Urgent Care
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