WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Lisa McClain (R-MI), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), John Moolenaar (R-MI) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced bipartisan legislation to improve the lives of our nation’s veterans.
The Patient Advocate Tracker Act, led by McClain and Slotkin, will create an online portal where veterans can track the status of formal complaints they file through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“The Patient Advocate Tracker Act is commonsense legislation that will make the VA more transparent and cause less frustrations for our veterans,” said Rep. McClain. “Veterans deserve the best healthcare possible, and when they receive subpar care, they need to be able to easily report complaints to their patient advocate, track it and get the best outcome possible. This bill will simplify the process and help them track their complaint.”
“I hear from veterans across Mid-Michigan who have struggled to access the VA care and benefits they’ve earned. Expanding the VA’s patient advocacy programs is a commonsense way to improve quality of service and make sure our veterans needs are being met. These two bills will increase transparency at the department and help it operate as efficiently as possible on behalf of our veteran community,” said Rep. Slotkin.
Currently the patient advocate tracking system allows for tracking and reporting of complaints by the Department of Veterans Affairs, but not the patient.
Reps. Bill Posey (R-FL), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Bob Gibbs (R-OH) Jody Hice (R-GA), Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA), Tracey Mann (R-KS), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Marc Veasey (D-TX) joined as original cosponsors of the Patient Tracker Act.
The Veterans Patient Advocacy Act, led by Moolenaar and Dingell, will require the VA to appropriately staff its patient advocacy programs.
“Our veterans deserve to have better service from the VA, and I have heard from many veterans that there are simply not enough patient advocates at the VA,” said Rep. Moolenaar. “The legislation we are introducing today will increase the number of patient advocates and improve accountability, so our veterans will receive better care and attention from VA staff. My Michigan colleagues and I have worked across the aisle to introduce these important solutions for our veterans, and we are proud to have support of the VFW, the SVA, and their members for our legislation today.”
“This country’s veterans put their lives on the line for us and we need to them the care they deserve,” said Rep. Dingell. “Currently, VA patient advocates are being assigned to multiple medical centers at a time, leading to a lack of quality care for veterans. This bipartisan legislation would address this challenge by ensuring every veteran has easy access to a patient advocate and that patient advocates have the bandwidth to fulfill their duties.”
"This legislation will save lives and will provide a dramatic leap forward in the quality of care our veterans receive across the country." Said Veterans of Foreign Wars – Department of Michigan State Commander Kevin Conklin. "The teamwork seen with Representatives Moolenaar, Dingell, McClain and Slotkin, alongside the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Student Veterans of America shows the importance of strengthening and streamlining the VA's Patient Advocacy program. We are proud that the idea for this legislation came from one of the SVA and VFW's very own members, Cameron Zbikowski and we'll continue to look for solutions from the end users of VA care and programs."