Congress sometimes gets a bad rep for getting caught up in partisan arguing and not doing enough for the American people. But some members of Congress stand out, step up and work to create bipartisan solutions.
The Door Stop Awards, presented by Lincoln Network and the OpenGov Foundation, celebrates these actions and the people driving them. The Door Stop Awards for Congressional Innovation and Transparency recognize those Congressional members and staffers delivering sustained, bipartisan and meaningful change in challenging environments.
Some of the individuals leading the charge are Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.). The two representatives co-sponsored the U.S. Faster Care for Veterans Act, that requires the VA to use off-the-shelf software for scheduling appointments, making it more convenient to find a doctor and schedule an appointment. The bill became law in December 2016.
McMorris Rodgers (seen in the video above) and Moulton won a Door Stop Award for their work to make veterans’ health care more accessible. Excessive wait times, lines and delays are not what veterans should have to deal with when they return from active duty. That’s an issue we can all get behind, and it has bipartisan support in Washington. However, these problems continue to hinder vets when they try to receive care from their government.
McMorris Rodgers and Moulton’s combined efforts helped bring their bill to the U.S. House floor and a vote to ensure the VA uses the best software available to provide the best care to veterans. By implementing self-scheduling software, veterans have more independence in finding and scheduling appointments, which will hopefully relieve some stress on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. And their work is not going unnoticed.
Building on the trailblazing work by McMorris Rodgers and Moulton, this month VA Secretary David Shulkin announced the expansion of the VA’s mobile presence with the rollout of several new apps designed to make health care more accessible to United States Military veterans. Shulkin described the plan as, “anywhere-to-anywhere VA health care,” in a joint statement with President Donald Trump from the Roosevelt Room.
“Self-scheduling apps are widely used in the private sector and will help create a better experience for veterans and their medical-care providers,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin in a VA press release.
- VA Video Connect is designed to let veterans connect with VA providers anywhere in the country. According to media site FedScoop, the app is being used by roughly 300 different providers at 67 different VA hospitals at the moment. The number of providers using the app is still growing, but eventually it will allow greater access to veterans living in more isolated areas.
- Veteran Appointment Request will allow veterans to book primary care and mental health appointments via mobile devices.
Both of these apps are meant to grant health care access to veterans no matter where they are.
“We’re removing geography as a barrier,” Shulkin said.
Though today’s headlines often focus on government gridlock, McMorris Rodgers and Moulton are stellar examples of what’s possible when lawmakers focus on results rather than mere politics.
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