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Shaheen Introduces Legislation to Bolster Emergency Health Care Coverage for Veterans during COVID-19

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation to bolster veterans’ access to lifesaving health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Care for Veterans During COVID Act would ensure New Hampshire veterans can access emergency health care without incurring massive medical bills during this crisis. Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) introduced companion legislation in the House last week.

“Financial obstacles and red tape from the VA are the last things our veterans should be forced to confront when seeking emergency health care, especially during a deadly pandemic,” said Shaheen. “This legislation will help ensure our veterans can receive timely, urgently needed emergency treatment during this crisis without fear of facing expensive medical bills that could leave them in the red. It will also streamline treatment and payment authorizations from the VA to community care providers, further improving the quality of care our veterans receive. Our veterans put their lives on the line for our nation each day they served – we owe it to them to honor their service and act on this important, commonsense legislation.”

The Emergency Care for Veterans During COVID Act would expand veterans’ access to emergency care and ensure community providers receive prompt payment from the VA for emergency medical services rendered. Specifically, it would:

  • Not require veterans to seek preauthorization from the VA before obtaining emergency treatment;
  • Mandate timely payment of medical claims made by community providers to the VA; and
  • Designate the VA as the “primary payer” to streamline and facilitate treatment and payment claims.

The full text of the bill can be read here.

Senator Shaheen has fought tirelessly in support of veterans to ensure they have the resources and services they need amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, then-President Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation supported by Senator Shaheen that contained key priorities to support Granite State veterans, including initiatives to combat homelessness, address unemployment and implement overdue reforms to tear down barriers to care impacting women veterans.