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Carter Fights for First District Veterans Before House Veterans Committee

Congressman Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (R-Ga.) testified yesterday before the House Veterans Affairs Committee to bring attention to important issues for veterans in the First District of Georgia. 

On creating better access to health care for veterans:

"Unfortunately, although we have a large number of veterans in the coastal region of Georgia where i have the honor and privilege of representing, our nearest VA hospitals are two hours away, one in Charleston, South Carolina, another one in Dublin, Georgia. 

Creating better access to health care for veterans has been one of my highest priorities while serving in Congress. This is why, I supported the VA Mission Act during the 115th Congress, specifically with its provisions that authorized VA hospitals to use telemedicine across state lines. I applaud the President for signing the VA Mission Act into law.

However, after meeting with VA officials, they brought to my attention that trainees were not authorized in the law to use the telemedicine system. Although likely a simple mistake in the legislation, this creates major problems in VA hospitals for a number of reasons. Most notably, it puts VA providers in legally precarious positions because the VA uses trainees in all aspects of care – just like all non-VA hospitals do. Additionally, it puts trainees behind the 8 ball, missing a critical piece of accumulated experience, the telemedicine system, when working to eventually become a doctor. 

Earlier this Congress, I introduced H.R. 3228, the VA Mission Telehealth Clarification Act, to remedy this issue. The bill now has bipartisan support among Committee Members and I hope you all will consider the legislation in front of the Committee as soon as possible."

On the veterans appeals process:

"I hope the Committee will continue to make strides in improving the veterans appeals process. 

I am proud that Congress passed and the President signed into law the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act which became effective this past February. As this law moves forward, I encourage the Committee to review its progress, continue to find ways in which it can be improved, and see how the VA can answer our constituents’ appeals in a more efficient and accurate fashion."

On veteran homelessness:

"I trust that the Committee will keep veteran homelessness as one of its highest priorities for the remainder of the 116th Congress. 

Today, there are still just under 40,000 homeless veterans in America. Another 1.4 million veterans are at risk of homelessness. 11% of the U.S. homeless population in America are veterans. That is too much. One is too much. Too many of those are in the First Congressional District of Georgia. These numbers are simply unacceptable. 

We need to reassess all of our federal programs working to combat veteran homelessness, but especially the accessibility of VA loans and the guidance given to veterans reintegrating into a civilian society. We try do this in the First Congressional District. We have VA forums to let veterans know what's available to them. This is extremely important."

Click here to view Carter's full testimony before the House Veterans Affairs Committee.