Concerns regarding both the quality and timeliness of care that our nation’s veterans receive at federal Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics have been raised in both the news and at Congressional hearings. Through discussions with multiple veterans service organizations, the National Disability Rights Network feels that the nationwide network of Protection and Advocacy agencies are in a unique position to help address the many real issues that our veterans face in getting the quality care they need and to which they are entitled.
For almost forty years, P&As have provided critical, objective advocacy and protection for individuals with disabilities. One important component of this work is monitoring the quality of care people with disabilities are receiving from hospitals, clinics, and other facilities. As a nationwide network with knowledge and experience, NDRN considers it vital that veterans have access to this advocacy and protection when in the care of a VA medical center for mental health and/or substance use issues.
To that end, Representative Martha Roby has introduced the Protection and Advocacy for Veterans Act of 2016 (H.R. 5128) to establish a grant program to improve the monitoring of mental health and substance abuse treatment programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Senator Mike Rounds has introduced a companion bill in the Senate (S. 3141).