Heitkamp joins VFW to thank Veterans Rodeo Drive for service

U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today joined the North Dakota Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) for its mid-winter conference to speak about her work to improve veterans’ health care and her efforts to honor their sacrifices in the U.S. Senate.
“As the daughter of a proud veteran who helped build the VFW in Mantador, my hometown, the North Dakota VFW has a special place in my heart,” said Heitkamp. “Veterans strengthen our communities in so many ways, including through VFW participation, service, and leadership. Everything that veterans give back to their communities is a reminder that we owe them and their families a deep debt of gratitude—and part of repaying that debt is living up to our obligations to our veterans when they take off the uniform. That’s why I’ll keep pushing for stronger reforms to the Choice Program so it works for our veterans, and so they can get care closer to home.”
The Choice Program aims to allow veterans who have difficulty obtaining a timely appointment with the VA, or live more than 40 miles from a VA health care facility, to seek care from local providers. In August, Heitkamp held a roundtable to discuss fixes to the program. She heard from North Dakota veterans and community health providers about serious challenges they have encountered in the new program.
To help fix the program, Heitkamp successfully pushed last year for the Fargo VA to directly take over scheduling for area veterans. That has helped in some cases, but Heitkamp continues to push for reforms to the program to allow veterans to access care in their communities more smoothly.
The Choice Program was created in 2014 when Congress passed a bipartisan bill to reform the VA and improve access to care, and since then Heitkamp has pushed to make sure it’s implemented properly.

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