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House Passes Mullin Legislation to Ensure Timely, Accessible Care for Native American Veterans

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Washington, November 17, 2020 | comments

Yesterday, the House unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) to ensure timely, accessible care for Native American veterans. H.R. 6237, the Proper and Reimbursed Care (PRC) for Native Veterans Act, would require the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to reimburse the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Tribally-run health facilities for purchased and referred care (PRC) used for Native American veterans.

H.R. 6237 clarifies that VHA is responsible for reimbursing not only direct care to Native veterans provided by a Tribe or IHS, but specialty and contract care provided through a Tribe or IHS. Reimbursing IHS and Tribes for PRC is absolutely vital in making sure Native veterans have timely, affordable access to the care they need and that Tribes and IHS have sufficient resources to treat patients and respond to public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our nation’s Native American veterans deserve access to quality, affordable health care and this bill helps deliver on that promise,” Mullin said. “IHS and tribally-run health facilities are not only already severely underfunded, but also are often the only option for care for Native American veterans. This commonsense bill will greatly improve the quality of care for veterans by ensuring that those facilities are reimbursed by the Veterans Health Administration for the services they provide, including specialty care. I am glad this bill passed the House and I urge the Senate to act quickly so our Native veterans get the care they need.”

“We appreciate Congressman Mullin’s leadership to get this bill passed by the House, which will greatly assist us in delivering high quality health care to our native Veterans,” said Chief Gary Batton, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. “Our Choctaw veterans are courageous warriors -- tvshka (tushka) in the Chahta language – who have defended this land through centuries of battles. It is a high priority for the Choctaw Nation to assist our Veterans in receiving their well-deserved benefits, including health care. This bill would clarify that the VA must reimburse IHS and Tribal health systems who are serving Veterans, even when they are referred out for specialty care.  By passing this bill out of the House, we are one step closer to reducing the red tape that our Veterans currently endure by allowing our native Veterans the ability to continue to choose us as their healthcare system, even if they need specialty services.”
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