‘Community Care’ Changes Raise Big Concerns!
Last week, Veterans Affairs officials stated that they would begin “designing a new integrated access and care coordination model to better deliver seamless care” to Veterans.
On the surface, that claim may sound incredibly beneficial for all Veterans in need – but many advocates are labeling the move by Veterans Affairs leaders as ‘unfair’ – stating that it’s limiting the number of medical options available to those in need.
“Implementation of these changes allows the Veterans Health Administration to continue its modernization journey and transformation to operate as a high reliability, veteran-centric organization.”
Sadly, this topic has been a central point of contention within the VA for years now. Former President Donald J. Trump worked to make any outside medical access for Veterans a key pillar of his 2016 campaign and presidency, pushing to allow Veterans more options.
However, Democratic lawmakers, including current President Joe Biden, have expressed that an excessive amount of private-sector doctors could actively drain VA finances from the VA health care system, forcing it into an early ‘privatization’.
In a statement, the Special Advisor to the VA’s Secretary for Health for Integrated Veteran Care, Donald Koenig stated that the main priority of this is not, and never has been, to disrupt the community care program. See his full quote below:
“Nothing we are doing will change any appointments scheduled now or in the future. We’re working to simplify, coordinate better, and make scheduling faster for Veterans, whether for a VA provider or a community care provider. Our goal is to deliver the right care at the right time, that best meets our Veteran’s health needs.”
Koenig said that the Office of Community Care will not be fully closed until next spring, with a current target of March 2022.
Just over 3,500 employees will be transferred into the new integrated care office, and another 4,300 will be reassigned to the Veterans Health Administrations’ finance office – with no jobs being terminated or physically relocated in any way.
The Concerned Veterans of America have noted that they see the situation differently – citing the VA recently removing a landing page that was dedicated to providing resources to Veterans. Darin Selnick, Senior Advisor to CVA and a former advisor for the Trump White House is saying that it feels as if the Biden administration is trying to ‘get rid of the program completely’.
Selnick went on to say that the CVA has had numerous conversations with Veterans and congressional officials about the increase in problems accessing the program itself and also in getting outside medical appointments solidified. Selnick closed by stating that he feels that separating the financial and operational aspects of the program itself will end up causing more delays and confusion.
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