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Deal on scandal-plagued VA finally arrives

A key senator and congressman on Monday announced a deal to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs, which has been plagued with allegations of corruption and possible criminal wrongdoing.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., the co-chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Conference Committee, said they hope the agreement will help to reform the second biggest federal agency.

According to the draft agreement, $17 billion more in funding will be allocated to the VA, which has faced accusations of being understaffed, among other allegations.

Exterior view of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center on May 8, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Getty Images
Exterior view of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center on May 8, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

CNBC has learned that the agreement includes the following:

  • Emergency funding to give veterans who can't get a medical appointment at the VA the option to receive non-VA care
  • More money to address VA's in-house needs
  • Authority for the VA secretary to immediately fire corrupt or incompetent senior executives, while providing employees with streamlined appeal rights
  • Extension of a traumatic brain injury pilot program
  • $5 billion to help the VA hire more physicians
  • $10 billion to cut the VA's benefits claims backlog
  • Continued upgrades to the VA's patient-scheduling system

CNBC first reported on issues within the VA Healthcare System last August, culminating in a documentary "Death & Dishonor: Crisis at the VA," which was released on Veterans Day of last year.

—By CNBC's Dina Gusovsky

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