The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has postponed a hearing it scheduled for Thursday to consider a proposal aimed at addressing the Veterans Affairs Department’s scheduling scandal. The panel has not set a new date.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the committee’s chairman, postponed the meeting because of possible floor action on veterans issues that would require his presence that same day, according to his office.
Sanders’s proposal would give the VA secretary greater authority to fire the department’s senior executives over performance problems, as well as providing options to appeal such actions. It would also also allow veterans to use non-VA medical centers when they cannot obtain timely appointments at VA clinics, in addition to a host of other provisions to address potential shortages of caregivers at the hospitals.
A group of Senate Republicans pitched a more narrow bill on Tuesday that would only allow veterans to use non-VA clinics if they can’t obtain timely care at VA medical centers.
The measures follow an inspector general’s investigation that found VA clinics across the nation used inappropriate scheduling practices that hid treatment delays. Eric Shinseki resigned as VA secretary over the matter on Friday, two days after the release of an interim report on the findings.
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