Last week, The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved the Veterans Access to Care Act. This is a major step forward following a bipartisan bill that was passed in the Senate which nearly triples veterans healthcare spending over the next three years. The bill adds additional doctors and allows veterans to seek care in the private marketplace.
A lead sponsor of the Senate bill and veteran Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. stated "if it's not an emergency that we have neglected the brave men and women who have served this country and keep us free, then I don't know what an emergency is." The VA scandal has led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki two weeks ago and shed a spotlight on the long wait times for veterans in need of care. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-VT stated the expenditure would be less than 1 percent of the $3 trillion it has cost to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bruce Jaspen of Forbes points out that many physicians believe veterans need more care and should be able to enter the private marketplace but they don't necessarily want to work for the government or for the VA. “Due to the national physician shortage, combined with a lack of physicians willing to commit to VA employment on a permanent or long-term basis, many VA facilities are forced to rely on locum tenens (temporary) physician staffing, which further breaks down communication, continuity of care, and systemic accountability,” said Jim Stone, president of The Medicus Firm, which is a physician staffing firm.
It remains to be seen whom the President will nominate and the Senate will confirm as the new head of the VA.By: Tommy King Co-Founder & CEO MedicalGroups.com