President Barack Obama was in Virginia Thursday to sign the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act.
The legislation, which passed both houses of Congress with overwhelming support, is designed to improve access to care and reduce long waits many veterans have experienced when trying to see a doctor.
The act makes it easier for veterans to see doctors in community-based, non-VA facilities. The $16.3 billion measure also allows the Veterans Affairs Department to hire thousands of doctors, nurses and other health professionals at the VA's nearly 1,000 hospitals and outpatient clinics nationwide.
"We also have extraordinary numbers of veterans coming home," Obama said Thursday. "So the demand, even though we've increased the VA budget, is still higher than the resources we've got. This bill helps to address that."
Congress approved the measure last week before taking a five-week recess. It was one of the few significant bills approved this year by both the House and the Senate.