In the wake of the access crisis that rocked the VA health care
system in 2014, the VFW has worked to assist veterans affected by delays in
accessing VA care and compiled a series of reports evaluating the state of VA
health care and the implementation of important reforms created by the Veterans
Access, Choice and Accountability Act.
The VFW first issued a report entitled “Hurry Up and
Wait,” to evaluate the state of the VA health care system and
identify persistent challenges and potential solutions to ensure VA can deliver
quality and timely care to all veterans who have earned it. However the
VFW’s work did not end there. After reforms were implemented, the
VFW commissioned several surveys to gauge veterans’ experiences and evaluate
the law’s most significant reform, the Veterans Choice Program. The VFW
has analyzed input from more than 10,000 veterans regarding their satisfaction
and access to the new program, through which veterans waiting more than 30 days
for care or residing more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility are offered
an opportunity to receive care from private sector health care providers in their
communities. To read "Hurry Up and Wait," click here.
The VFW’s two Veterans Choice Program reports included specific
recommendations regarding participation, wait-time standard, geographic
eligibility, and non-VA care issues that needed to be addressed. Fortunately,
the program has also remained a top priority for VA and Congress, which have
addressed several issues that accompanied the program's roll-out. For example,
the concerns and advocacy of VFW members led VA to change the way it calculates
geographic eligibility from “as the crow flies” distance to driving distance,
aligning it with VA beneficiary travel. To read the VFW's initial report on the Veterans Choice Program, click here. To read the VFW's second report on the Veterans Choice Program, click here.
As Congress debates the future of the VA health care system, the
VFW is committed to ensuring the public discourse regarding needed reforms is
based on the needs, preferences and expectations of the men and women it was
designed to serve – not political rhetoric. To that end, the VFW has published
a report entitled “Our Care,” to evaluate the veterans’ health care
landscape based on responses from a diverse cross-section of military veterans.
The report includes conclusions on veterans’ options, preferences and
expectations when seeking health care, which the VFW believes should serve as
the bases for changes to the VA health care system. To read "Our Care," click here.
Based on direct feedback from veterans, site visits to
VA medical facilities around the country, and historical expertise the VFW
along with its Independent Budget partners, DAV and PAV, developed a veterans
health care reform framework centered on veteran perspectives and focused on
the positives and negatives of the current VA health care delivery system. To
read "Independent Budget: A Framework for Veterans Health Care
Reform," click here.
mandated “Commission on Care” was charged with examining veterans’ access to VA
health care and making recommendations to improve how VA delivers health care
to veterans. The VFW monitored every public session and discussion held by the
commission and testified numerous times to ensure its recommendations are
aligned with veterans' preferences and health care needs. On July 6, 2016, the
commission released its final report which outlines 18 recommendations. While
the VFW supports most of the recommendations, we have serious concerns with
the recommendation to establish a politically-appointed board of directors
that would govern the VA health care system, and the
commission's proposal to give veterans a list of primary care doctors and
asking them to shop around for one willing to see them as a patient. To
read the commission’s final report, click here. To read the VFW’s views on the
commission’s recommendations, click here.
VFW continues to offer direct intervention on behalf of veterans who are
experiencing problems accessing care. To report problems or concerns regarding
VA health care or benefits, click
here or call 1-800-VFW-1899 (1-800-839-1899).