Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Trump Launches Revamp of Veterans’ Health Care. Can a Rudderless VA Carry It Out?

from The Wall Street Journal,

Law aims to change how veterans get private-sector care but officials who planned it may not be the ones to implement it.

President Donald Trump will sign into law this afternoon a sweeping measure to revamp the Department of Veterans Affairs’ health-care system, changing the way veterans get care in the private sector and empowering the VA secretary to make major administrative changes.

The VA Mission Act, which Congress passed with bipartisan support just before Memorial Day, was designed to overhaul the way veterans get private-sector care, close or consolidate underused facilities and provide new incentives to hire doctors, among other changes. One of the central purposes of the law is to replace emergency legislation called the Choice Act, which was passed after a VA wait-time scandal sparked demand to change the department and give veterans more choice for their health care. Congress pushed through the Choice Act in 2014, mandating that the VA implement it within 90 days, which set the program up for failure, according to Rep. Phil Roe (R., Tenn.), the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Earlier this week, a Government Accountability Office report said the VA “cannot determine whether the Choice Program has helped to achieve the goal of alleviating veterans’ wait times for care.” “We started this four years ago,” Mr. Roe said. “It’s one of the most sweeping pieces of legislation we’ve passed since I’ve been here” in Congress, he said.

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