WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Rep. Scott Franklin (R-FL) and Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL) introduced their bipartisan Scheduling for Community Health and Easy Data to Understand for Legislators to Evaluate Services (SCHEDULES) Act to ensure timely treatment for veterans seeking specialty care at the VA. Senators Rick Scott (R-FL) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

As a veteran, I understand how challenging the VA can be to navigate, especially while experiencing a health crisis,” said Congressman Scott Franklin, House Veterans Affairs Committee and House Military Construction/ VA Appropriations Subcommittee member. “Far too often, vets suffer in painful or threatening situations waiting for a scheduled specialty care visit.  That’s unacceptable. Veterans have earned the highest quality care, and Congress must hold the VA accountable to provide it quickly and reliably. This important bill would ensure the VA swiftly provides, not just schedules, needed care. I thank Senator Scott and Ossoff for leading this effort in the Senate.”

“Florida veterans in desperate need of care simply cannot afford VA appointment delays,” said Congresswoman Cherfilus-McCormick, Ranking Member of the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization. “This bipartisan bill helps ensure that VA is responsive to the needs of patients and is swiftly providing the care that they earned serving our country.”

“Millions of veterans rely on the VA, and it is critical that our VA providers are accountable and responsive in delivering essential, and often life-saving, health care. My bill, the SCHEDULES Act, will increase transparency within the VA to require uniform standards across the board so veterans have more insight into when their appointments will be scheduled. As a Navy veteran myself and the son of a WWII veteran, I know that our veterans have sacrificed so much for our freedoms, and they should never be forced to play a guessing game of when they will be taken care of,” said Sen. Rick Scott.

“Georgia veterans are still having to wait way too long to get health care through the VA. This bipartisan bill will help hold the VA accountable to meet clear and transparent targets for reduced wait times,” said Senator Jon Ossoff.

In 2020, the VA updated their process for scheduling specialty care appointments at VA facilities and with community care providers. Appointments at VA facilities must be scheduled within 3 business days from the date a VA provider enters a referral and community care appointments must be scheduled within 7 days.  Last year, the Government Accountability Office reported the VA’s failure to meet these standards broadly.  GAO found only 10% of VA Medical Centers scheduled greater than 75% of their appointments with the standard. The VA also has no established standard for providing timely care once an appointment is scheduled. 

Specifically, The SCHEDULES Act requires the Secretary of the VA to:

  • Establish a standard timeline for care from the moment a referral is entered until the veteran is seen for the related issue  
  • Report to Congress quarterly on their progress implementing the new standard
  • Provide transparency and a performance ranking of each VA facility

Supporting Organizations include: the Blinded Veterans Association and the Wounded Warrior Project.