Congressman Charles Boustany says the Department of Veterans' Affairs has inadequately served U.S. veterans when it comes to paying emergency medical claims.

Nationwide, the VA has a backlog of emergency claims totaling $788 million, including an $18-million backlog in the regional network to which Louisiana belongs.

On March 3, Boustany introduced the Timely Payment for Veterans' Emergency Care Act to expedite the process in which emergency medical bills are paid for the nation's veterans.


Boustany designed the legislation to allow private sector administrative contractors to oversee the the timely payment of emergency medical bills that quickly pile up for veterans.

The bill includes a system of checks and balances for the VA to select third-party contractors, as well as, performance standards for the contracted companies.

The legislation will:

  • Mandate the VA will use competitive bidding procedures to select contractors
  • Require the VA Secretary to develop performance requirements that will be used to evaluate third-party contractors
  • Require that contractors must be fired unless they have met or exceeded required performance standards.

Currently, the prolonged process of paying the emergency room and ambulance bills is threatening to ruin credit ratings of those veterans who are waiting for their claims to be processed and paid.

"The VA has totally failed to follow through on its promise to ensure our veterans’ bills are taken care of, Boustany said. "My bill takes this responsibility out of the hands of bureaucrats and ensures private administrative contractors are given strict guidelines to pay these bills on time, or be fired.” Boustany said.

According to claims data compiled in February, more than 226,000 veterans were waiting on more than 764,000 emergency claims to get paid.