Van Drew Applauds Re-Introduction of Federal ‘Veterans Health ID Act’
TRENTON – Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic) today applauded the reintroduction of federal legislation that would allow South Jersey military veterans to receive health care at community hospitals covered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The “Veterans Health ID Act” (H.R. 763) was introduced by U .S. Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-2) Tuesday.
Van Drew co-chaired the New Jersey Veterans Hospital Task Force which issued a host of recommendations – including creating a pilot program giving area veterans access to local hospitals – which were endorsed by the New Jersey Legislature in 2014. The recommendations were included in a resolution sponsored by Van Drew, SCR-142/ACR-177 (attached), and sent to the Secretary of the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs.
“We’ve been working on this issue at both the state and federal levels for years. We’ve certainly made some progress locally to improve health care access for veterans, but we still have a long way to go to provide the care that they were promised when they enlisted.
“Veterans in our area are still forced to travel for hours to get to a VA hospital in Delaware, Philadelphia or northern New Jersey. The travel is a tremendous burden for older veterans and those suffering with debilitating conditions, and leads to some forgoing treatment altogether. There is no reason they shouldn’t be permitted to get care locally, and a number of hospitals in our area have already expressed that they are ready and willing to participate in such a program. This idea was also endorsed by a unanimous vote of the Legislature.
“It’s well past time that we provided adequate health care to those who have sacrificed life and limb for all of us. I fully support Congressman LoBiondo’s legislation and I’m hopeful the bill will be passed and signed into law.”