VICTOR Act Improves Veterans’ Access to Organ Transplants
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Neal Dunn, M.D. (FL-02) today introduced legislation to help save veterans’ lives by improving their access to organ transplants.
The Veterans Increased Choice for Transplanted Organs and Recovery (VICTOR) Act of 2017 allows veterans who live more than 100 miles from one of the nation’s 14 VA transplant centers to seek care at a federally certified, non-VA facility that covers Medicare patients.
“Timely organ transplants are the difference between life and death. Unfortunately, due to government bureaucracy, our veterans are put on lengthy waitlists and forced to travel hundreds of miles to get the chance to receive a new liver, kidney, or even heart. The travel alone can prove to be fatal,” said Dr. Dunn. “The VICTOR Act will give those who fought for our freedom a fighting chance here at home.”
The VA only covers transplants performed at a Veterans Affairs Transplant Center, and waiting times for a transplant at the VA centers are on average 32 percent longer than those at non-VA facilities. The nearest VA facility to Florida’s Second District that performs heart, kidney or liver transplants is in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 2016, the Military Times reported on pitfalls of the VA organ transplant system stating, “The research found the greater the distance from a VA Transplant center a veteran lived, the lower their likelihood of being placed on the waitlist, receiving a transplant, and therefore the greater their likelihood of death.”
“Our veterans and wounded warriors have earned this care through their service and sacrifice, and as they did not let us down, we cannot let them down,” added Dr. Dunn.
The VICTOR Act is cosponsored by 17 members of the House, several of whom serve on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
Dr. Dunn spoke about the VICTOR Act on the House floor this week. Dr. Dunn is a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and served 11 years as a surgeon in the U.S. Army.