WASHINGTON, July 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) strongly urges Congress to take immediate action to fortify the resources for direct patient care at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Agency leaders have provided the detailed information needed to make the right decision to ensure no veteran experiences an interruption in the care they've earned.
"Our nation's heroes are counting on our elected leaders to make the right decision and put veterans' needs first," said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. "It's clear the resources allocated to the Choice Program are better spent on direct patient care provided by the VA. It's time that Congress act and fulfill the VA's request to pass legislation authorizing the transfer of funds."
Since its November debut, only a handful of veterans have opted to seek care from private-sector providers under the controversial Choice Card privatization program. In fact, it has been used by just 3% of veterans who are eligible, or 27,000 veterans out of 700,000. Nearly nine million veterans annually receive exemplary care from the VA and consistently rate it very highly.
"The resources needed to meet the demands on our veterans care system are waiting to be utilized. Our nation's heroes cannot afford for any more time to be wasted. Congress must act now and authorize the transfer of unused Choice Program funds to programs that will meet the immediate needs of our nation's vets," said Cox.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia. AFGE's National Veterans Affairs Council represents 220,000 employees within the Department of Veterans Affairs. For the latest AFGE news and information, follow us on Facebookand Twitter.