Starting today, a conference committee begins hammering out a final agreement on a VA health care reform bill. Over the last few weeks, both the House and Senate have passed bills that seek to make improvements to the troubled agency.

Several Members of both the House and Senate VA Committees have been assigned to the conference committee responsible for working out the agreement.

The different bills seek to hold incompetent senior leaders at VA accountable for poor performance; shorten wait times for veterans needing care; and address long-term resource issues at VA.

VetsFirst supports recent congressional efforts to increase accountability and to make certain that veterans receive the care they need. Following months of hearings and reports that consistently showed VA senior leaders failed to perform to high standards and ignored warnings of patient wait times dating back to 2010, we believe that action is necessary to restore faith in the system.

However, we do believe that the House and Senate VA Committees and those members who have been assigned to the conference committee must include the viewpoints of national veterans service organizations in making decisions about a final bill. The final legislation will have a heavy impact on veterans, particularly those living with disabilities. An open, transparent process will lead to the development of the best solutions.

VetsFirst will continue to closely watch and, when possible, give input to ensure a final reform bill is as effective as possible. We will also make certain that any final legislation takes into account the unique health care services needed by disabled veterans, and provides the resources needed to ensure that VA is able to take care of these brave men and women.