Resource Type:

Veterans Legislation

Provided By:

U.S. Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Jerry Moran (R-KS)

Phone Number:
(202) 224-5344

State: Maine

Zip: 04330

The legislation would make permanent a pilot program created by Congress in 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), both members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, have introduced legislation to expand veterans’ access to exams that are often required for the disability claims process. This bill would make permanent a pilot program that was created by Congress in 2020 to permanently allow licensed medical professionals to provide medical disability examinations across state lines for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Prior to the pilot program, the Veterans Health Administration was the sole gateway for veterans to get disability claims; the King-Moran bill would allow qualified outside health care professionals to process claims, with the goal of a simpler, expedited process.

“We owe a great deal to our veterans and we have an obligation to return to them the same service they gave to us while in uniform with a minimum of bureaucracy and delay,” said Senator King. “By allowing them to use any VA approved licensed medical professional to perform their benefits exam — rather than force them into an overwhelmed local bottleneck — we can help alleviate the backlog and ensure our veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned in a timely manner. This bipartisan bill is yet another way we can express our gratitude to the brave men and women who’ve served.”

“Veterans deserve access to timely, high-quality care and a greater ability to choose when, where and how to use the benefits they earned through their service,” said Senator Moran. “VA is facing an increasing backlog of benefit claims decisions, and this legislation will help alleviate the exam backlog by creating a permanent solution to allow more veterans to receive care and benefits in a timely manner.”

This pilot program was first introduced in the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, which provided the VA and its contract vendors with the authority to allow certain medical providers to provide medical disability exams in states other than where they were licensed. This legislation would allow any health care professional, who is eligible for appointment to a position in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), has a current unrestricted license to practice and is performing the duties that VA and the vendor have agreed to in their contract, to provide medical disability exams.

Representing a state with one of the highest rates of veterans per capita, Senator King is a staunch advocate for America’s servicemembers and veterans. A member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, he works to ensure American veterans receive their earned benefits and that the VA is properly implementing various programs such as the PACT Act, the State Veterans Homes Domiciliary Care Flexibility Act, and the John Scott Hannon Act.  King has also repeatedly pressed the VA on the need to hire and retain more staff in order to meet the demand for veteran care. An advocate for amplifying veteran voices, King held a field hearing earlier this year focusing on long-term care in Maine. He also spearheaded the passage of legislation to better track and study servicemember suicides by job assignment. Last year, King introduced bipartisan legislation to support veterans with mental traumas, as well as celebrated President Biden signing his legislation into law, which increases benefits for veterans and military families.

The full text of the legislation can be found HERE.