WASHINGTON – Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee approved provisions introduced by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) to strengthen Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) services in the FY2016 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
Boozman introduced a measure to improve the collection of money from third party insurers. A 2011 Inspector General (IG) report estimated that VA was failing to collect as much as $110 million a year from insurers that owe money for non-service connected care. Boozman’s measure directs VA to establish an 18-month pilot program using a private company with a background in non-governmental sector revenue cycle management experience. The program will identify and execute actions to correct current gaps in non-VA care fee collection.
Boozman also authored language included in the bill that requires a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report about VA’s pharmacy information technology systems. This would enable VA to protect against prescription drug abuses, as well as provide our veterans with only the prescribed dosage of medication. Boozman’s provision will help VA modernize its ability to administer prescription drugs to veterans.
“We cannot keep our promise to our veterans if VA continues to waste resources. Put simply, VA needs to be more efficient with taxpayer dollars. These are two ways that VA can cut costs to increase medical care for our veterans, and I’m pleased the committee incorporated these measures so we can improve the services and care our veterans earned,” Boozman said.
The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act and the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act for FY2016 are the first two appropriations bills passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee in the 114th Congress.