Murkowski Committee Efforts Aid Alaska’s Veterans

Senator Seeks Answers on Mat-Su Vet Facility, Consistency in Care Close to Home

The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved a number of Senator Murkowski’s priorities for Alaska’s more than 77,000 veterans passed through the Senate Appropriations Committee.  The language she secured in the Fiscal Year 2015 Military Construction/Veterans Affairs funding bill would address both new concerns like the understaffing of the Mat-Su VA outpatient clinic and lingering concerns over delivering “Care Close to Home” for Alaska’s military community.

“Alaska embraces and appreciates our military, and as a U.S. Senator I must make sure that the federal government, in turn, is delivering for our military – this includes tending to their medical needs when they return home,” said Murkowski.  “Delivering care close to home through the VA/Indian Health Service partnership and other technological tools has been a priority for me for years, but the situation that has emerged at the Wasilla Community Based Outpatient Clinic is something that needs to be understood and addressed.  I thank the members of the Appropriations Committee for seeing the worth of my provisions.”

Senator Murkowski’s Alaska-focused provisions in the 2015 Milcon/VA Appropriations bill will:

  • Continue the groundbreaking VA/IHS partnership by allowing the VA to enter into agreements with tribes that are a party to the Alaska Native Health Compact to provide health care.
  • Recognize and address Alaska’s geographic challenges by requiring the VA to consider the unique challenges in delivering health care in Alaska and Hawaii with a goal of reducing the number of veterans who are directed to travel to another state or for long distances within Alaska for care.  (Click here for a Murkowski op-ed on the matter.)
  • Investigate the Wasilla Community Based Outpatient Clinic staff shortage by conducting a Wasilla-specific report that will examine the series of staffing incidents that have occurred since the clinic’s opening – with a due date of February 1, 2015