In early February, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Health held the first in a series of oversight hearings to evaluate VA’s plan to consolidate its existing seven community care programs to increase access to health care. DAV participated in this hearing and addressed several questions by representatives in evaluating proposed eligibility requirements veterans must meet to receive VA-paid care in the community.
“We recommend the eligibility criteria to access care in the community mirror the eligibility for VA health care, giving the highest priority to service-connected veterans,” said DAV Deputy National Legislative Director Adrian Atizado. “In accessing urgent and emergency care in the community, the proposed copays should not be imposed on any service-connected disabled veterans in accordance with the resolution passed by DAV delegates at our most recent national convention.”
Historically, all of VA’s programs to buy care in the community operated under their own specific set of requirements, creating a complex and confusing landscape for veterans, VA employees, and community providers. Transformation of VA’s community care program should result in a VA healthcare system with an integrated network of community providers that is responsive to the healthcare needs of veteran patients. At a minimum, Atizado said, wartime ill and injured veterans should not face greater restrictions in the future VA healthcare system when accessing care in the community.