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Senate passes bill aimed at reducing veterans' long waits

The US Senate passed a bill of broad reforms aimed at reducing veterans' long waits for healthcare.

The measure would
- make it easier for the VA Secretary to fire incompetent executive employees.
- creates more than two dozen new VA medical facilities around the country .
- and authorizes 500 million dollars for the hiring of new doctors and nurses.
   
It also allows veterans to seek private care outside of the VA system if necessary.
   
Committee Chairman, Congressman Jeff Miller, said this is a good step forward, but fixing the issues will require an overhaul of the entire department.

"The department got where it is today due to a perfect storm of settling for the status quo. VA cannot continue business as usual. It's very clear the status quo is not acceptable. And it's time for real change.
   
The senate legislation will need to be merged with a similar House version.