The future of Veteran Affairs health care is being studied by a blue ribbon panel. They are about to recommend a complete overhaul to the system to create the VA healthcare program similar to that of the Pentagon?s Tricare program. Note that the Tricare system allows veterans to choose whether they want to go for the VA healthcare system or a network provider.
According to the Commission on Care members, the goal of this overhaul would to make the system more efficient. The department will provide direct care to most veterans but those who live far away or are unable to get an appointment will have the opportunity of opting for a private care.
The commission?s final report is currently being drafted. However, it does have points concluding that all veterans in VA care will be able to choose primary care provider at the VA or they can opt to select from a civilian network. In addition, the plan will also remove the 30=day or 40-mile restrictions which are currently in the Veterans Choice program. As an alternative, it will create networks of physicians for care of the former troops who are looking forward to seeing non-VA doctors.
Back in 2014, the Commission on Care was created by the Congress under a legislation that also established the Veterans Choice program. The Commission on Care is responsible for reviewing the current VA health system and making amendments to make it more streamlined for the future. As of now, the final report from the panel is due by the end of June. The commissioners will be meeting in Washington this Tuesday to discuss the final draft or revise any points.
The draft in consideration here is the same one aforementioned; the one that deals with structuring the VHA Care System, overseeing the VHA facilities and managing preferred provider networks. Note that an appointed board of directors will be providing the information to the entire Veterans Health Administration.
The draft, as of now, talks about overhauling the entire system and creating a new one to reach out to areas where it is needed most. In addition, the draft also sheds light on giving the VA authority to close underperforming hospitals and clinics that are under VA.
According to Nancy Schlichting, the Chairwoman of the Commission, ?Under this proposal, [VHA] becomes a care system, a more integrated model where every component of it is designed to deliver the best care to veterans.?
Moreover, the report would be calling veterans who have received other than honorable discharges access to the Veterans Affairs services. The draft talks about troops who have adequate honorable service before they got discharges and that they would be considered for VA health care facilities.
?I think we all agree if we increase choice, we increase costs,? Schlichting added. ?Given the level of reform we are recommending, [VA] is going to need resources.?