Independent Budget presents veterans’ voice to Commission on Care

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Independent Budget (IB) partners, including DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Garry Augustine, recently met with the Commission on Care, responding to the commission’s request to better understand the IB’s position on necessary reforms in Department of Veterans Affairs health care.

Augustine referenced several critical measures addressing challenges in the VA system and ensuring the focus of all care is based on the needs of veterans: rebuilding the VA’s capacity to provide timely, high quality care; restructuring and consolidating the VA’s community care programs into a single extended care network; realigning and expanding the VA’s health care services to meet the needs of veterans today and in the future; and reforming the VA’s culture and management by increasing transparency, accountability and oversight.

“DAV and our Independent Budget partners appreciate the opportunity to present to the commission this framework for veterans health care reform,” Augustine told the commission. “We look forward to working with the commission to ensure its understanding of the importance of a strong and veteran-centric VA health care system for current and future veterans.”

The IB panel, in addition to Augustine, included representatives from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). They presented pertinent research from each of their organizations, a cumulative membership of more than 3 million veterans.

“We are here to share our insights into the challenges facing the VA health care system, to talk about what our nation owes to the men and women who serve and to lay out a framework for reforming veterans health care to meet those obligations today and far into the future,” Augustine said.

The commission’s final report to Congress is expected in June.