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Spanberger Helps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Help Veterans Afford Ambulance Transportation, Access Emergency Medical Treatment

Washington, June 28, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger helped introduce bipartisan legislation to help Central Virginia veterans afford the emergency transportation they need to receive high-quality medical treatment.

Currently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is allowed to reimburse veterans for ambulance rides to non-VA hospitals in an emergency—and the VA can cover the costs of their emergency treatment at these hospitals. However, if a veteran is stabilized but then requires continued care at a VA facility, the VA does not reimburse their transportation to that facility. This ambulance transportation can often be too expensive for patients to cover out-of-pocket.

The VA Emergency Transportation Act would make these ambulances more affordable for many veterans by allowing the VA to reimburse them for this emergency transportation.

“The dedicated men and women who’ve honorably defended our country should never have to worry about whether or not they can access the high-quality care they need during an emergency. In communities across Virginia and throughout the country, we can do more to make ambulance services more affordable for our veterans,” said Spanberger. “I’m proud to help introduce this bipartisan legislation, which will help cover transportation costs for veterans, so they can receive the emergency healthcare treatment they need. This commonsense legislation helps us honor our obligation to provide support to our country’s veterans—and I’ll keep fighting to give Central Veterans the healthcare and benefits they’ve earned through their selfless service.”

American Veterans (AMVETS) is one Veterans’ Service Organization among many who have voiced their support for this bill.

“It is easy to overlook the importance of the remedy that the VA Emergency Transportation Act offers—unless you happen to be a veteran who needed emergency services and was forced to rely on ambulance transportation from a community ER to a VA medical facility for ongoing treatment,” said Sherman Gillums, AMVETS Chief Advocacy Officer. “The fear of getting hit with a hefty ambulance expense after the fact has proven to be a deterrent to seeking timely emergency care for too many veterans. This bill, if passed, would change that.”

The bipartisan VA Emergency Transportation Act is also endorsed by: Vietnam Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Reserve Officer Association, Military Officers Association, Fleet Reserve Association, Blinded Veterans Association, Association of the United States Navy, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

The VA Emergency Transportation Act is led by U.S. Representatives Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) and Joe Cunningham (D-SC). The bipartisan bill is also cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Mike Turner (R-OH), Don Bacon (R-NE), Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Tom Cole (R-OK), Brian Mast (R-FL), Greg Steube (R-FL), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Josh Harder (D-CA), Susan Wild (D-PA), Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ), Scott Tipton (R-CO), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).

BACKGROUND

Since arriving in the U.S. House, Spanberger has worked to emphasize the need to improve healthcare quality and access for veterans in Central Virginia and across the country. In March 2019, she joined a bipartisan group of her colleagues in calling on VA facilities to adequately address the unique healthcare needs of women veterans, especially as the women veteran population continues to grow.

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