The U.S. Senate votes to approve legislation injecting more than $16 billion into the Veterans Administration in order to help the VA healthcare system overcome the extensive treatment delays
On July 31, the U.S. Senate, following the lead of the House of Representatives, voted to approve legislation injecting more than $16 billion into the Veterans Administration in order to help the VA healthcare system overcome the extensive treatment delays that have caused the agency to endure considerable public criticism this year.
The Senate voted 91 to 3 to approve that legislation, which now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. That bill was passed along with a transportation bill providing $11 billion in stopgap highway funding, as senators and representatives prepared to dash out of Washington for the August recess.
The bill’s passage followed the Senate’s unanimous conformation this week of former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald to head the agency. McDonald will replace Eric K. Shinseki, who resigned in May amid reports of falsified scheduling records and extensive delays at VA hospitals.
The bill provides $10 billion for military veterans to seek care from non-VA healthcare providers using “Veterans Choice Cards,” if they have waited more than 30 days for an appointment, or if they live more than 40 miles from a VA hospital, the Washington Post reported. It also designates about $6.3 billion for additional medical staff and emergency leases for extra space, with the goal of increasing access to care and adding capacity, particularly in areas where veterans live far from the nearest clinic, the newspaper reported. It was drafted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Jeff Miller (R.-Fla.).
With the aim of improving patient safety monitoring, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is currently developing and testing an improved patient safety surveillance system.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding $210 million to Seattle-based University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative, with the funds going toward the construction of a new building to serve as the initiative’s hub.
More than half (56 percent) of healthcare professionals believe their organization could be doing more to educate employees on HIPAA compliance and the rules around sharing protected health information.
The Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is partnering with DigitalGlobe to create the Health Equity Atlas Initiative (ATLAS), a platform that standardizes and maps population data in order to generate insights that address health inequities.