Leading Post-9/11 Veterans Continue to Call for Lasting Reform at VA
IAVA recommendations echoed in Federal Commission on Care report
Washington, D.C. (July 6, 2016) — Today, as the federal Commission on Care issued long anticipated recommendations to Congress for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) continues to call for immediate and lasting reform at the VA. Amid fears that the independent body would be swayed by partisan politics suggesting privatization of the VA, IAVA is encouraged that the report calls for an integrated health care system under the management of the VA. IAVA, the nation’s largest organization representing veterans from the post-9/11 wars, has long called for such a system of care, most recently in its IAVA’s 2015 Policy Agenda.
“Three years after a national scandal at the VA that equates to a national embarrassment, our members are still citing VA care and reform as their top concern, which is why we have included it as one of IAVA’s Top 4 Policy Priorities,” said Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA Founder and CEO. “Today’s report appears to favor an integrated health care system, which is in line with the vision IAVA has been putting forward. While we are pleased that the Commission didn’t buckle to partisan calls for privatization of the VA, the fight to fix the VA is far from over. We will continue to pressure Congress to fund a VA-led integrated care network that results in a dramatic new vision for a 21st century VA; the President to make VA reform a priority until the very last day in office; and candidates Clinton and Trump to offer solutions that put care of our veterans ahead of politics.”
In its 7th Annual Member Survey, IAVA members have asked for an integrated network of care that provides timely high quality, veteran-centric care. Specifically:
• 60% of members VA health care;
• 50% of users rate VA healthcare as good or very good;
• VA mental health care rates higher, with 67% satisfied or very satisfied;
• Among the reasons for using VA mental health care, IAVA members feel VA clinicians understand their military service.
IAVA will meet with the Chair of the Commission, Nancy Schlichting on July 7th to discuss further details of the 300+ page report and encourage alignment with VSO recommendations and existing plans already underway at the VA, in particular myVA Blueprint.
The Commission on Care was created in 2014 under legislation that established the Veterans Choice program. It is expected to provide Congress with a framework for designing the Veterans Health Administration for the next 20 years.