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Op-Ed: The VA is guilty of mismanaging its own programs

A person is frustrated. (Pixabay/Released)
November 28, 2017

The Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) has raised the “White Flag.”

By surrendering, the Secretary admits that he hasn’t a clue how to right the wrongs that are driving some Veterans, in despair, to take their own lives.

Instead of fighting for the full funding and full staffing of his Department, the Secretary wants to “farm out” the care of VA patients to other health care agencies.

The Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs has seemingly lost control of his vast network of clinics and hospitals. Regional offices of the VA are making unilateral decisions that conflict with the rules and regulations being given them by the office of the Secretary.

Outsourcing health care when VA facilities cannot provide that care to VA patients is the prudent action to take, considering the circumstances. The ever-growing numbers of Veterans needing care has caused an unmanageable number of patients for the VA to cope with; thus the birth of the Veterans’ Choice Program.

President Donald Trump’s personal interest in providing quicker, more adequate care to Veterans adds credence to the need for outsourcing VA health care. The Secretary of the VA agreed with the President’s desire for the Choice Program, but the guidance he provided the vast network of clinics and hospitals is being misinterpreted and has resulted in gross mismanagement of that program.

This permanently disabled Veteran believes that expanding the many Outpatient Clinics to include Specialty Clinics (Audiology, Dermatology, Optometry, for example) would allow the VA to handle the many Veterans needing care. Fully funding the expansion and the hiring of sufficient experienced doctors, nurses and administrative staff would be absolutely essential. The requirement to outsource health care would immediately be reduced. Full staffing would allow more Veterans to be seen without having to wait more than 30 days for treatment. Veterans suicide would naturally be reduced, or at least that is the utmost hope.

Congress is the key to ensuring that our disabled Veterans receive quick and adequate care by  the VA. Since the number of VA patients is increasing every day, Congress must quickly approve the funds that would enable the VA to cope with this critical situation.

The entire membership of the Congress must come together and do what is absolutely necessary to care for our disabled Veterans, and they must not just procrastinate; they must take action immediately.

All opinion articles are the opinion of the author and not necessarily of American Military News. If you are interested in submitting an Op-Ed, please email [email protected].