We must act now to understand the challenges that lie ahead so that the VA is prepared for the long-term needs of the millions of veterans who have served our nation during the last 12 years of war.
Alexandria, VA (PRWEB) May 19, 2014
Retired Navy Vice Adm. Norb Ryan, president of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) wrote to the Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama, urgently recommending he establish an independent, high-level commission to examine the VA health care system for the nation’s veterans in the 21st century.
MOAA members are deeply concerned over recent reports, as sited on the State of VA Health Care hearing, May 15, 2014 on the United States Senate Committee of Veterans Affairs website, that a VA hospital in Phoenix, Ariz. was keeping two waiting lists for veterans seeking care. A ‘secret’ list allegedly was used to deny access to care for veterans so that overall numbers would look good. A retired VA physician alleges the list led to the untimely deaths of as many as 40 veterans. The VA Inspector General is investigating the charges .
In writing to the President, Ryan noted, “We believe the current situation concerning allegations of secret waiting lists at the VA Phoenix hospital presents a unique opportunity to take a fresh look at VA health care in the 21st century. The VA health care system delivers consistently high quality care to our nation’s veterans with few exceptions, once veterans can get in. However, as the current crisis has shown, our veterans’ access to care is often thwarted by bureaucratic red tape and inefficiencies.”
The VA healthcare system is the largest integrated system in the country with nearly 10 million veterans enrolled, 6.5 million seen each year, and 220,000 visits per day in 1,825 locations including 152 hospitals, 800 community based clinics and 300 veteran centers. Two million new enrollees were added in 2013 resulting in a net gain of 1.4 million new patients system wide.
The last comprehensive review of VA health care was done nearly 20 years ago. It led to the transformation of the VA health system so that veterans are seen today for routine, primary care needs as well as specialized care associated with their wartime disabilities.
“As health care delivery continues to evolve across the nation with decreasing reliance on inpatient services and facilities, MOAA believes that veterans and their families would benefit over the long term by an independent, strategic assessment of health care delivery modalities in the 21st century,” Ryan wrote. “We must act now to understand the challenges that lie ahead so that the VA is prepared for the long-term needs of the millions of veterans who have served our nation during the last 12 years of war.”
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is the nation’s largest officers association with more than 380,000 members from every branch of service, including active duty, retired, National Guard, Reserve, and former officers and their families and survivors. MOAA is a nonprofit and politically nonpartisan organization and an influential force in promoting a strong national defense. MOAA represents the interests of service members and their families in every stage of their lives and careers, and for those who are not eligible to join MOAA, Voices for America’s Troops is a nonprofit MOAA affiliate that supports a strong national defense. For more information, visit http://www.moaa.org or http://www.voicesfortroops.org/.
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