On Wednesday Senator Jon Tester released the following statement after joining a bipartisan group of Senators in voting to increase access to health care for veterans:

"Today’s bill is a good bill that gets at some of the VA’s most pressing problems.  Today’s bill addresses many of the transparency, accountability and access to care issues that are plaguing the VA.  By getting rid of incentives to falsify wait times and making it easier to remove bad managers, we’ll hold more folks accountable for the care that veterans receive.  By making it easier to hire medical professionals and allowing more veterans to seek care from outside providers, we’ll reduce the bottleneck that forces veterans to wait too long for care."

The Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act forces the VA to identify staffing shortages and gives the department authority to fill those positions, allows veterans to seek care from outside the VA system, and requires the VA to publish wait time goals for every VA medical center.

The bill passed in a 93-3 vote.