By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, December 6, 2016, the US House of Representatives passed the Faster Care for Veterans Act, HR4352. US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) supported the legislation to reform the troubled Veterans Administration (VA) Health Care System). Roby said that the bill would allow veterans to self schedule their own medical appointments.
Rep. Roby said, “Pleased to report that the Faster Care for Veterans Act passed the House today. This means we are one step closer to providing our veterans with 21st century convenience in appointment self-scheduling.”
Congresswoman Roby said, “My friend Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who is the lead Republican sponsor of this bill, said it best: “Self-scheduling is only one example of the endless possibilities for a 21st century VA — one that treats our veterans with dignity and respect, and ensures our heroes’ sacrifices don’t continue after their tours end. It just takes the imagination and willpower to make it happen.””
Rep. Roby said, “It’s an innovative piece of legislation designed to establish a self-scheduling appointment system for the VA, among other things. The bill would allow patients to quickly and easily self-schedule appointments from their smart phones or computers.”
Roby continued, “This type of technology has worked well for the private sector and has really improved patient experience. I believe our veterans deserve the same options and convenience in scheduling doctor visits that people have in doctors’ offices across the US.”
HR4352 directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program establishing a patient self-scheduling appointment system, and for other purposes. The system is have to the capability to schedule, modify, and cancel appointments for primary care, specialty care, and mental health. It also must have the capability to support appointments for the provision of health care regardless of whether such care is provided in person or through telehealth services. It is also required to have the capability to view appointment availability in real time, including appointments that were previously filled but later cancelled by other patients. The system would also provide prompts or reminders to veterans to schedule follow-up appointments and would be available for use 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Congresswoman Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. The conservative congresswoman was first elected in 2010, defeating then incumbent Bobby Bright (D-Montgomery). Roby is an attorney and was a Montgomery City Councilwoman before being elected to the Congress. Rep. Roby has made VA reform a major focus of her tenure in the House.