Trump Team Floats ‘Public-Private’ Veterans Health Care

Taking the time to read a small town newspaper article about an elderly World War II veteran's death should increase your thoughts about President Donald Trump's proposal relative to ways to improve health care for men and women who answered the call to serve our country during its greatest times of need.

While most people think about the high costs of health insurance and
possible out-of- pocket expenditure for medical care, we fail to realize the importance of all aspects of veteran healthcare including mental and emotional health.

It appears that the veteran in the aforementioned article could have benefited greatly if a public/private VA healthcare system had been in place enabling this person's mental and emotional as well as his physical health to be monitored more closely. Statistics reveal only 40 percent of our veterans actually use VA medical services or have been deemed eligible for them on a non-active duty basis, and that one-third of medical appointments are scheduled with private primary care
physicians.

alt Prior to his official inauguration, President Trump met with administrators from three of our nation's top medical facilities regarding how to meet the needs of veterans more effectively. During
the meeting, President Trump made clear that his goal was to ensure that veterans could receive medical care without long delays and transportation problems associated with current VA medical
care.

It appears that as far back as December 2016, Trump's proposal was not being widely entertained by political servants on both sides of the aisle as well as current military personnel who fear that changes in the current system could result in privatization relative to the VA healthcare system currently in place.

According to a 2011 RAND Corporation survey, a large majority of veterans cite problems with being completely covered for medical needs while their family members are not due to ineligibility for service which places added expenditure for a family medical insurance policy.

For many years, some veterans who lived more than 40 miles from the nearest VA medical facility have been allowed to be attended by their local primary-care physician following that physician's filing of appropriate paperwork. In most of these cases while office visits were covered, traditional medical tests including blood work screenings required a visit to the VA center to which the individual was assigned.

April 19, 2017, President Trump signed a proposal relative to the extension of the Veterans Choice insurance program. Veterans Choice is a $10 billion dollar program designed to issue medical insurance cards to veterans who live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA hospital or who must wait a minimum of 30 days to receive an appointment with their local medical provider.

A major problem cited relative to the Veterans Choice program involves evidence that local physicians have not been paid on a timely basis for services rendered. With the exception of Alaska, a recent article reveals that in Montana which has more veterans per capita than any other state in the United States of America the wait for private physician compensation can be as long as six months to a year. This situation has resulted in many healthcare providers declining to accept Veterans Choice clients.

Another problem cited by the U.S. Congress is that originally they were only given 90 days to design and implement the program nationwide. While 57 insurance carriers were invited to participate in the system, only Health Net Federal Services and TriWest responded to the offer. Montana Senator Jon Tester suggested that the traditional VA medical care system should be maintained with Veterans Choice being an option to alleviate medi-gap coverage situations.

alt Over the past year, ongoing efforts to address the medical needs of veterans have included formulation of a partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation to fund in access of $15 million in the form of 30 grants to medical facilities/teaching hospitals to implement and improve medical care across the USA for veterans and their families. BOMBAS, a charitable organization working with homeless veterans has been cited as an ideal entity to minister and partner with VA medical facilities to ensure the medical needs of these individuals are being met.

A final report rendered by the Commission on Care committee reveals that a 300-page report was sent to the White House in 2016 with suggestions and guidelines for the implementation of a Veterans Health Administration Care System. Under the new system, veterans would have a choice of working with their personal primary-care physician in conjunction with VA specialists when needed, or continuing to use the current VA medical system.

Commission recommendations cite that veterans experiencing PTSD and other mental health issues be made eligible for treatment at both VA and private medical facilities especially when accommodation for their needs can not be met at a VA medical facility.

In the final analysis, the majority of American adults feel that the Veterans Administration should be in charge of medical practice for both active and non-active military personnel.