What are the main issues right now?
Fully Fund VA. VHPI recommends that the Biden Administration request the full level of funding VA needs so that the department's essential roles are completed in a timely and high-quality manner. That includes healthcare, non-medical benefits, and burial, as well as accommodating the needs of the many veterans who will be newly seeking VHA care because of jobs and health insurance lost during the COVID pandemic.
Fully Staff VHA. Empty positions undermine the timeliness and quality of health care and other benefits. VHPI recommends filling VHA's estimated 50,000 vacancies as well as adding new staff to meet emerging needs. Fully funding and fully staffing VA reduces costs because of economies of scale and the diversity and coordination and integration of services. When VA is fully funded, then VA is less reliant upon the more expensive, less timely, and less culturally competent private sector. In short, the best way to protect VA for our Veterans is to fully fund and staff it. This would reverse the prior administration's efforts to privatize VA and will be a productive use of federal funds in fighting high unemployment.
Mandate in-house Compensation & Pension Examinations. Veterans deserve C&P exams that are timely, accurate, which can only be provided by the VA by staff properly trained and motivated to help veterans. In addition, such exams can be conveniently scheduled consecutively at the same facility.
Enforce the quality standards required by the MISSION Act for private sector health providers to ensure that non-VA providers adhere to the same rigorous wait-time and quality of care standards that apply to VA providers.
Develop new outsourced care eligibility standards for the MISSION Act based on medical necessity and quality of care issues. This involves reversing the poorly written existing standards that mandate care decisions based on ridiculous and arbitrary drive and wait times that promote an over-reliance on private, unaccountable, expensive care.
Little is known about all the missions of the VA. Few people, including members of Congress, are aware of the significant roles the VA plays in medical research affecting all Americans and in training of health care staff, including doctors, nurses and allied professionals. The VA needs to let the public and Congress know of its roles and accomplishments and why it is essential for all Americans that we have a strong VHA.
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