Robert Hurt: Caring for our veterans

Robert_HurtThis past week, as our nation came together on Veterans Day to honor those who have served our country, I traveled across the Fifth District and talked with many of Virginia’s brave veterans.  In addition to attending several Veterans Day events, I visited McGuire VA Medical Center, the Salem VA Medical Center, and three Community-Based Outpatient Clinics, more commonly known as CBOCs, in Danville, Lynchburg, and Charlottesville.

As in the past, I was impressed with the healthcare providers with whom we met.  They genuinely care about the veterans they see, and they want to provide the highest level of care to those who have sacrificed so much for our country.  I am grateful for their commitment to that goal.

Some providers expressed the concern that bureaucratic paperwork required by the VA often prevents them from efficiently and effectively delivering the care their patients require.  Because the culture of paper-pushing exists at the macro and micro levels, this bureaucracy stands in the way at every step of the process, right down to the doctor-patient relationship.  Over the years, most of the veterans I have spoken with value the high level of care they receive, but they also often express frustration with all of the red tape that goes along with accessing healthcare.

In some respects, I believe we have made strides in reforming the way our veterans receive the healthcare they have earned, but we still have a long way to go.  VA healthcare providers and the veterans with whom I spoke this week explained that while the Veterans Choice Program is a well-intentioned program aimed at speeding up access to care, there are problems with efficiency in this new model that must be addressed.

While the “40-Mile” Rule was created to allow veterans residing over 40 miles from the nearest VA medical facility to receive care outside the VA system, the system in place for identifying these providers and for setting up appointments often results in having veterans having to drive even further than the VA facility for care and in having appointments set beyond the time that would have been set by a VA facility.

We must continue to work to serve our veterans more efficiently, and it is our responsibility to make sure they receive the highest level of care.  That is why Representative Tim Walz (D-Minnesota) and I introduced the Veterans Administration Legislative and Objective Review (VALOR) Act in July.  If adopted, this legislation would require that the Department of Veterans Affairs undergo a biannual, independent audit by a non-governmental entity.  This bill would provide an outside perspective in identifying the problems at the VA and would offer solutions to solve these problems on an ongoing basis.

As we continue to work to implement effective long-term solutions, I encourage our veterans and our active-duty members of the armed services to contact our office if we may ever be of assistance in dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs or any other federal agency.

I am grateful to all of the veterans who took the time to meet with me this week.  I am humbled by the opportunity to serve Virginia’s Fifth District, and I remain fully committed to ensuring that our veterans who have given the most receive the benefits they have earned and deserve.

Finally, last week we witnessed horrific acts of terror committed in Paris.  America stands firmly with France and resolute in our fight against terrorism.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims and their families and with the entire nation.

If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.

Robert Hurt represents the Fifth District of Virginia in Congress.


UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Feedback from buyers: “Got the Book in the Mail Saturday, and could not put it down! Great read and great photography as well! Love all of the books I’ve received, but hands down, this is my favorite!” – Russell

Buy here.

augusta free press news
augusta free press news
augusta free press news