Major provisions of veterans health care bill

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Major provisions of veterans health care bill
Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, accompanied by House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, July 28, 2014, to outline their agreement on a compromise plan to fix the vast health care system responsible for treating the nation's veterans. A bipartisan deal to improve veterans' health care would authorize at least $17 billion to fix the health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays, the bill's chief supporters said Monday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., take the stairs to a news conference on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Monday, July 28, 2014, about a bipartisan deal to improve veterans' health care that would authorize at least $17 billion to fix the health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, followed by Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., emerges from Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Responding to the public outcry over lax care at Veterans Affairs health facilities, leaders of both parties plan debate soon on a bill to help vets waiting for months to get medical appointments. The House of Representatives advanced a VA reform bill today that passed 421-0. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. pauses while speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, after a Democratic caucus lunch. Responding to the public outcry over lax care at Veterans Affairs health facilities, leaders of both parties plan debate soon on a bill to help vets waiting for months to get medical appointments. The House of Representatives advanced a VA reform bill today that passed 421-0. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, after a Democratic caucus lunch. Responding to the public outcry over lax care at Veterans Affairs health facilities, leaders of both parties plan debate soon on a bill to help vets waiting for months to get medical appointments. The House of Representatives advanced a VA reform bill today that passed 421-0. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
From left: Harry C. Taylor II, Administrative Law Judge, Charleston, W.Va., Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, Social Security Administration; Charles Bridges, Administrative Law Judge, Harrisburg, Pa., Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, Social Security Administration; Gerald I. Krafsur, Administrative Law Judge, Kingsport, Tenn., Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, Social Security Administration; James A. Burke, Administrative Law Judge, Albuquerque, N.M., Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, Social Security Administration; are sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, prior to testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform hearing regarding social security and disability benefits. Four Social Security judges are facing accusations they rubber-stamped claims for disability benefits, approving billions of dollars in payments from the cash-strapped program. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Harry C. Taylor II, Administrative Law Judge, Charleston, W.Va., Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, Social Security Administration testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing regarding social security and disability benefits. Four Social Security judges are facing accusations they rubber-stamped claims for disability benefits, approving billions of dollars in payments from the cash-strapped program. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
From left: James A. Burke, Administrative Law Judge, Albuquerque, N.M., Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, Social Security Administration; Harry C. Taylor II, Administrative Law Judge, Charleston, W.Va., Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, Social Security Administration; Gerald I. Krafsur, Administrative Law Judge, Kingsport, Tenn., Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, Social Security Administration; Charles Bridges, Administrative Law Judge, Harrisburg, Pa., Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, Social Security Administration; testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing regarding social security and disability benefits. Four Social Security judges are facing accusations they rubber-stamped claims for disability benefits, approving billions of dollars in payments from the cash-strapped program. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, shakes hands with House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, July 28, 2014, during a news conference as they outlined their agreement on a compromise plan to fix the vast health care system responsible for treating the nation's veterans. A bipartisan deal to improve veterans' health care would authorize at least $17 billion to fix the health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays, the bill's chief supporters said Monday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., leaves a Republican caucus meeting, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, July 25, 2014, on the influx of illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. With Congress scheduled to recess in a week, Miller and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, have offered competing proposals to fix the veterans' health care program that has been scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up the delays. (AP Photo)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, joined by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., right, calls on a reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 24, 2014, on the Veterans Administration. The chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees offered competing new proposals to fix a veterans health care program scandalized by long waits and falsified records covering up the delays. (AP Photo)
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, talks with reporters about the border crisis, veterans' health care, and future funding, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 24, 2014. House Republicans and Senate Democrats are at an impasse on dealing with tens of thousands of young migrants showing up at the southern border, leaving any solution unclear with Congress' annual August recess looming. (AP Photo)
Department of Veterans Affairs acting secretary Sloan Gibson pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 24, 2014, before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee to outline his actions for restoring trust to the beleaguered agency. (AP Photo)
House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., holds up two pages of resource requests from the Department of Veterans Affairs on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 24, 2014, as he questions Department of Veterans Affairs acting secretary Sloan Gibson on how to restore trust to the beleaguered agency. (AP Photo)
Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson, left, accompanied by Assistant Deputy Undersecretary For Health For Administrative Operations Philip Matkowsky, pauses while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014, before the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing on the state of VA health care in the wake of revelations of neglect and delayed medical visits. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson, foreground, answers reporters' questions about improvements within the medical care system during a visit to the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., Friday, July 11, 2014. During the visit, Gibson met with the medical center's staff and some veterans. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner testifies before a House Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. A federal investigative agency is examining 67 claims of retaliation by supervisors at the Department of Veterans Affairs against employees who filed whistleblower complaints--including 25 complaints filed since June 1, after a growing health care scandal involving long patient waits and falsified records at VA hospitals and clinics became public. The independent Office of Special Counsel said 30 of the complaints about retaliation have passed the initial review stage and were being further investigated for corrective action and possible discipline against VA supervisors and other executives. The complaints were filed in 28 states at 45 separate facilities, Lerner said. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Katherine Mitchell, M.D., medical director, Iraq and Afghanistan Post-Deployment Center, Phoenix VA Health Care System, left, looks on as Scott Davis, program specialist, VA National Health Eligibility Center, testifies before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing on the Department of Veteran Affairs supplying inadequate services, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner is sworn in prior to testifying before a House Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. A federal investigative agency is examining 67 claims of retaliation by supervisors at the Department of Veterans Affairs against employees who filed whistleblower complaints--including 25 complaints filed since June 1, after a growing health care scandal involving long patient waits and falsified records at VA hospitals and clinics became public. The independent Office of Special Counsel said 30 of the complaints about retaliation have passed the initial review stage and were being further investigated for corrective action and possible discipline against VA supervisors and other executives. The complaints were filed in 28 states at 45 separate facilities, Lerner said. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Men sit outside the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, N.M., Thursday, July 3, 2014. A veteran who collapsed in an Albuquerque Veteran Affairs hospital cafeteria 500 yards from the emergency room, died Monday, June 30, 2014, after waiting 30 minutes for an ambulance, officials confirmed Thursday. Officials at the hospital said it took a half an hour for the ambulance to be dispatched and take the man from one building to the other, which is about a five minute walk. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)
The entrance to the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, N.M., is seen Thursday, July 3, 2014. A veteran who collapsed in an Albuquerque Veteran Affairs hospital cafeteria 500 yards from the emergency room, died Monday, June 30, 2014, after waiting 30 minutes for an ambulance, officials confirmed Thursday. Officials at the hospital said it took a half an hour for the ambulance to be dispatched and take the man from one building to the other, which is about a five minute walk. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)
House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., left, shakes hands with Katherine Mitchell, M.D., medical director, Iraq and Afghanistan Post-Deployment Center, Phoenix VA Health Care System, right, as witnesses Jose Mathews, M.D., former chief of psychiatry, St. Louis VA Health Care System; Christian Head, M.D., associate director, chief of staff, Legal and Quality Assurance, Greater Los Angeles VA Health Care System, look on at the start of the committee's hearing on the Department of Veteran Affairs supplying inadequate services, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
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A bill approved by Congress aims to alleviate delays many veterans have faced in getting treatment at Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics and end the widespread practice of covering up long wait times for appointments. The legislation also makes it easier to fire hospital administration and other senior VA executives.

Congressional budget analysts put the cost of the bill at $16.3 billion over three years and estimate it will add $10 billion to federal deficits over the next 10 years.

The legislation:

-Devotes $10 billion to pay private doctors to treat qualifying veterans who can't get prompt appointments at the VA's nearly 1,000 hospitals and outpatient clinics, or those who live far from them. Only veterans who enrolled in VA care as of Aug. 1 or live at least 40 miles away are eligible for outside care.

-Devotes $5 billion to hire more doctors, nurses and other medical and mental health professionals.

-Authorizes $1.3 billion to open 27 new VA outpatient clinics and other medical facilities in 18 states and Puerto Rico.

-Grants the VA secretary authority to fire immediately poor-performing senior executives. They would have seven days to appeal, with a final resolution 21 days later.

-Expands a scholarship program for children of veterans killed in the line of duty to include surviving spouses.

-Allows all returning veterans and eligible dependents to qualify for in-state tuition at public colleges and universities under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

-Cuts funding for annual bonuses for VA employees to $360 million, $40 million less than last year.

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