WASHINGTON, DC – Today, in a win for veterans across the country, the House passed Congressman Neal Dunn’s (FL-02) legislation to expand veterans’ access to organ transplants. The Veterans Increased Choice for Transplanted Organs and Recovery (VICTOR) Act gives veterans in need of an organ or bone marrow transplant through the VA healthcare system the ability to seek care at a federally certified transplant center near their home. This legislation would apply to both the Choice program and any subsequent community care program which would replace Choice.
The VICTOR Act is supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion, and American Veterans (AMVETS).
“The VICTOR Act is a critical step forward in ensuring transplant care through the VA meets our veterans’ medical needs,” said Dr. Dunn. “Medical decisions should be made between a doctor and their patient, and that is exactly what this bill does. The VICTOR Act will remove unnecessary obstacles facing veterans in need of organ transplants, making it easier for those who have served our country to receive life-saving surgery.”
“As we lead up to Veterans Day this week, it’s more important than ever that we ensure veterans in need of critical health care like organ transplants have access to the care they deserve. I’m pleased that the House passed the VICTOR Act today, and I thank Rep. Dunn for his continued leadership on this issue,” said House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman, Dr. Phil Roe (TN-01).
Currently, veterans who seek care through the VA and are in need of an organ transplant must go to one of only 14 Veterans Affairs Transplant Centers (VATCs) in the entire nation. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that among veterans eligible to receive livers, the greater the distance from a Department Transplant Facility or any transplant center, the veteran faced a lower likelihood of receiving a liver transplant, and a greater likelihood of death. The undue burden of travel is not the only issue veterans face at receiving a transplant at these facilities. Veterans on organ transplant waiting lists at Department facilities face, on average, a 32% longer waiting time to receive a transplant than individuals at non-VA facilities.
“The work to honor and care for our veterans can never end, because our debt of gratitude can never fully be repaid,” Dr. Dunn added.
The VICTOR Act is cosponsored by 32 members of the House, several of whom serve on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.