The Mission ActThursday, April 18, 2019
For the first time in nearly 45 years, more than half of the US veterans are under the age of 65. Along with such a large veteran population, comes their (higher) expectations of the Veteran Affairs health system. Many now have different attitudes towards their care and want it in a timely and convenient manner, and who can blame them?
Veterans Affairs Secretary, Robert Wilkie, has learned from his experience watching his father go through the VA healthcare system and knew something needed to change. Since, The Mission Act, passed last summer, will go into effect this June and aims to provide expanded health care to veterans. When the act is implemented, veterans will now be able to see a private sector doctor if it is in the best interest of the veteran or if the VA is unable to provide the care needed.
Current regulations advise that veterans can visit a private sector doctor if the veteran lives more than 40 miles from the nearest VA facility or if they have to wait more than 30 days to see a VA doctor. With the change, veterans can now visit a private sector doctor if they face a 20-day waiting period or if they live more than 30 minutes from a VA facility. This is a huge expansion on the regulation and allows a lot of veterans to get proper and desperately needed care.
There are many critics that say the VA can not handle this big of a change and that, by promoting outside care to veterans, undermines the entire VA health care system. The VFW voiced concerns that this change emphasizes convenience over the quality of care and that many private sector doctors do not have experience with veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, Secretary Wilkie believes that allowing veterans to have private sector care and introducing new care techniques, such as tele-health services, will triple the amount of veterans who are eligible for care and will reach those in rural areas.
President Trump has long been an advocate of “Veterans Choice” healthcare and this has been a major talking point for him during his speeches. But several members of congress are actively trying to delay the implementation of the Mission Act, saying it will be too costly and will create problems for the VA. One thing is for certain though, change does need to happen to ensure the health care of our veterans remains a top priority.
If you or a loved one needs assistance with receiving care through the VA, please contact the experienced lawyers at Turley, Redmond, Rosasco, and Rosasco at 855-280-7586 for a free no-obligation consultation.