Bringing To Veterans The Treatment They Have Earned

As the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Health Subcommittee, I feel strongly that we must address the unique challenges that rural veterans face in accessing health care. Nationwide, more than 44 percent of recent U.S. military recruits come from rural areas, while across the country, one in five veterans who is enrolled to receive VA health care lives in a rural area. Veterans who live in rural settings are often older and have more physical and mental health diseases as compared to veterans who live in suburban or urban settings, and often lack access to high-quality medical services. The Rural Veterans Health Care Act would help address the unique challenges that our rural veterans face by increasing the number of facilities in rural areas and the amount of outreach that goes directly to rural veterans through mobile Vet Centers; encouraging recruitment and training of health care professionals in rural areas by instituting new programs and medical rotations; focusing on research related to the needs of rural veterans by establishing four Rural Health Research, Education, and Clinical Care Centers; and helping to develop the IT infrastructure needed to enhance services in rural areas. These are important steps that will make meaningful differences in the lives of rural veterans and help them to access the care that they have earned.