“The Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday will launch a major expansion of veterans’ access to private doctors – a reform effort President Donald Trump has promised since his 2016 campaign but that some stakeholders think has been rushed.”
“The VA Mission Act, which was signed into law last June and goes into effect Thursday, increases the number of veterans who are eligible to receive private-sector health care from 8 percent to 40 percent of the VA’s 9.5 million patients, agency officials estimated…”
“Several veterans organizations that helped shepherd the Mission Act through Congress said they were kept in the dark about the implementation plans and don’t know what to expect following Thursday’s launch. In April, some House lawmakers and veterans groups suggested the VA delay the expansion, citing potential information technology problems…”
“To gain access to private-sector doctors under the Mission Act, veterans can talk with their VA doctors, who will use a new “decision support tool” that’s been shared with all VA hospitals and clinics, Wilkie explained…”
“However, the decision support tool was a source of controversy in the spring, when the U.S. Digital Service warned the system was flawed and could disrupt patient care. The U.S. Digital Service – a White House team of software developers that helps federal agencies improve their technology – recommended the VA stop its development.” Read the full article here.
Source: VA to expand veterans’ access to private medical care Thursday – By Nikki Wentling, June 5, 2019. Stars and Stripes.