DAV Statement Regarding Proposals To Address VA Health Care Access

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Whenever a VA facility is unable to provide timely medical care to veterans, it must be VA’s responsibility to find, arrange and coordinate care through non-VA providers; however that takes more than just giving a veteran a voucher or a card. To ensure the best health outcomes for veterans, VA must continue to be responsible for coordinating their care amongst various VA and non-VA providers and for maintaining a single, unified electronic health record. No purchased care program can fix VA’s access problems without sufficient and dedicated funding, separate from the funding required to operate VA’s hospitals and clinics.

VA already has the authority to purchase non-VA care for veterans from community providers and is currently calling all veterans on waiting lists to arrange for them to be seen immediately either within the VA system or by a private provider. Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson said yesterday that “VA’s first priority is to get all veterans off waiting lists and into clinics while we address the underlying issues that have been impeding veterans’ access to healthcare.” We support this initiative and urge VA to request, and Congress to immediately appropriate, any additional funding needed this year.

Ultimately, this crisis of access cannot be addressed without ensuring that VA has all the resources it needs to properly fulfill its mission. DAV and our Independent Budget partners have repeatedly told successive Administrations and Congresses that the VA health care system has been underfunded by at least $15 billion over the past decade. With those missing resources, VA could have expanded its clinics and hospitals and hired more doctors and nurses to meet the growing demand for VA health care by veterans. While VA certainly must strengthen its management, hold people accountable and increase transparency, it is the growing resource gap that is most responsible for the access problems today.

The quality of VA health care is not in question; in terms of patient safety, prevention, and patient satisfaction, VA hospitals rank equal to or better than private hospitals. The VA health system offers unparalleled medical and scientific knowledge of the injuries and illnesses afflicting veterans—from spinal cord injury to PTSD to rare cancers linked to Agent Orange exposure. Unless we maintain a robust and fully-funded VA, even more veterans will find themselves unable to access quality care and treatment they need and have earned, especially those who require specialized services not unavailable in the private sector.

  • Cathy Sylvia Kelley

    What are you going to do about the Veteran’s that have died due to the VA neglect? My husband died April 9. 2014! I want some answers and I want justice! Someone needs to go to jail. No one has contacted me and I am fighting for his benefits! He wouldn’t have died if the VA would have treated him promptly, correctly and with the respect he so deserved!

  • Randall Smith

    Then why did the VA give back money , and pay these big bonus shouldn’t they have withheld the bonus’s or given much smaller one. It sounds more like poor management, I think when they really look into the misuse of funds we are going to find deeper problems. Also why has the DAV spoke out on the claims and appeals issues and about VA withholding dependent retro pay which I told my local DAV about. Are we thinking it is just the health side of VA that is fudging the books,where is your voice on this?

  • Jeff Burum

    Outsource VA medical care now

  • pminger

    You Would be wise to extended the caregiver bill to all wars not just post 9/11. We are the ones that work 24-7 to keep our nations heros alive, feed, roof over their jeards, deal with the VA make appoint,emits. I could write a book. But that should be your starting g point.

    I never u derstood how in 2010 the nation forgot all the veterans of previous wars and only allowed the caregivers of POST 9/11 these life saving benefits.

    Homeless over 50

    Suicides 22 per day, most over 50

    Unemployed over 50

  • pminger

    Should read, YOU WOULD BE WISE TO EXTEND THE CAREGIVER BENENIFIT

  • Doug Valentine

    I wish everyone would quit talking about the VA being underfunded, it’s not the case— There’s just way too much waste happening within the VA and extreme amounts of mismanagement. In the case of Bonuses—- why do they even have them— Shouldn’t people in those positions be giving at least 100% to the job of helping Veterans?? I’ve been a life member of DAV since mid-seventies and –not once have they inquired about my VA healthcare. They do ask for donations about every other month so to me even the DAV is a little one-sided.

  • Jay

    BLUF, murder took place, trials should be next, reparations to the survivors for wrongful neglect should have already happened, but how do you put a price on death. Its sickening to see how we are constantly treated as second class citizens, we need to outsource our government agencies to someone that cares, certainly the American we defended cannot give a rats behind about us.