Stars and Stripes: Senate passes coronavirus relief bill with $60 million for VA

“The Department of Veterans Affairs will get $60 million in emergency funding as part of a coronavirus relief package the Senate approved Wednesday.”

“Of that amount, $30 million will go to VA medical services and another $30 million will be dedicated to community care — an account that pays for veterans to receive medical treatment from private-sector doctors. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said the money would be used to boost diagnostic testing at the department.”

“As of Wednesday, the VA had 46 positive cases of coronavirus across its health care system. It had administered 322 tests as of Tuesday night, and it had 3,000 tests on hand…”

“The Senate passed the bill with a vote of 90-8, and it now goes to President Donald Trump’s desk. In addition to the VA funding, it provides paid sick leave, expanded jobless benefits and free testing for the coronavirus. Eight Republican lawmakers voted against the measure…”

“According to sources familiar with the funding plan, the money would provide for more testing kits and protective equipment for VA facilities and allow the department to temporarily convert space in their facilities into negative-pressure chambers for coronavirus patients. The funding would reportedly be used to boost the department’s information technology capabilities in order to expand the use of telehealth…” Read the full article here.

Source: Senate passes coronavirus relief bill with $60 million for VA – By Nikki Wentling, March 18, 2020. Stars and Stripes.

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