Read the highlights below and then check out the full article
Mr Longman writes an interesting opinion piece laying out what he describes as the 5 Myths about VA Healthcare. Whether you agree with him or not he provides enough information to back his myths – worth a read.
The claims process is slow because of VA bureaucrats.
- “… it is ultimately Congress that makes it so difficult for many veterans to get VA care. Because of laws that strictly limit eligibility, veterans must show that they are either poor or suffer from some specific degree of disabilityrelated to their military service to qualify for many health-care services as well as pension benefits. The requirement to litigate different health conditions — such as, say, whether a veteran’s hearing loss is a result of artillery fire or exposure to rock-and-roll — is the ultimate reason the VA claims process is prolonged and often humiliating to vets …”
Wait times to see a doctor at VA are an exceptional problem.
- “… The key question that often goes unanswered is: compared with what? A 2015 study by the Rand Corp. concluded that, in general, “wait times at the VA for new patient primary and specialty care are shorter than wait times reported in focused studies of the private sector …”
VA delivers mediocre care or worse.
- “… Commission on Care , found the quality of VA’s behavioral health programs “largely unrivalled.” In many areas, VA offers specialized polytrauma and rehabilitative care for veterans that cannot be obtained at any price elsewhere. Part of the reason you hear so many negative stories about VA health care is that it receives far more scrutiny than the rest of the health-care system, including from two standing committees in Congress, an inspector general, veterans service organizations and a highly engaged press …”
VA should offer patients maximum choice in doctors.
- “… Sending veterans to other providers could also threaten the viability of VA hospitals and clinics, many of which already face rapid shrinking in their patient populations, owing to the passing of the World War II generation. If VA hospitals wind up closing, that would leave veterans with less, not more, choice in doctors …”
Allowing veterans to see private doctors means ‘privatizing’ VA.
- “… not all calls for VA to make better use of private providers amount to “privatization,” as some liberals and public employee unions claim. VA has a long history of partnering with private medical schools and purchasing care in the community. Especially in rural areas, VA often lacks the facilities and personnel to offer vets timely, convenient, high-quality care. In such circumstances, joining with local private providers to create integrated networks of care makes both clinical and fiscal sense …”
Read the full article on the Washington Post
Phillip Longman served on the Commission on Care, established by Congress to study the future of VA, and is the author of a book on VA, “Best Care Anywhere.” He is policy director at the Open Markets Institute and a senior editor at the Washington Monthly.