CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, September 26, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 5162, the Vet Connect Act of 2016, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 5162 was introduced on April 29, 2016, by Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which ordered the bill reported on September 21, 2016, by voice vote.
H.R. 5162 requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to share medical record information with a public or private health care provider in order to provide care of treatment to a shared patient. Specifically, the bill authorizes the VA to disclose to non-VA entities that provide hospital care or medical treatment to veterans any records regarding the identity, diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment of any patient seeking treatment at a non-VA facility.
VA authorizes non-VA medical care for veterans when VA facilities are not feasibly available. In these circumstances, care usually requires pre-authorization, except in emergency cases, and is based on VA care not being geographically accessible or a VA facilities not being able to meet a veteran’s needs.
There are barriers to sharing a patient’s medical records when a veteran seeks medical attention outside the VA system. According to the bill’s sponsor, this creates delays in care and results in non-VA doctor’s not always getting the full medical picture for the veterans they treat.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates enacting H.R. 5162 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.