Veterans

Dept. of Veterans Affairs Turns to Private Sector for Help

|

Overloaded and ill-equipped to handle thousands of veterans needing mental health care, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is now seeking help from the private sector. The agency recently entered talks with the Warrior Care Network (WCN) in hopes of becoming formally involved with this unique solution to veteran health care woes. The WCN is a network of private hospitals across the country that will offer outpatient mental health care to thousands of veterans free of charge.

WCN is a program founded by the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), a non-profit that works to raise awareness for the needs of wounded veterans. It will be a collaborative effort among four major medical centers across the country to diagnose and rehabilitate veterans while also working towards innovative treatment techniques by sharing case studies and research. The network is set to treat 3,000 to 4,000 veterans a year and has promised to ensure those who are eligible for network care will "not be denied access to state-of-the-art, patient-centered care due to their geographic location or inability to pay."

News of this partnership comes a week after the Government Accountability Office released its most recent report on the troubles at the VA, claiming the agency has yet to be consistent in giving veterans timely mental health care treatment. The WCN is just one way the VA is looking toward the private sector to help meet demands: it is proposing a program, Veterans Choice, that would allow more veterans to seek care privately. However, this program needs congressional approval and funding which will take time, potentially years.

The WCN, on the other hand, was announced this past June and will launch early 2016. Funding is primarily from the WWP, contributing $15 million in three years to each of the partnering hospitals; each hospital will provide a matching grant of $7.5 million. 

WCN welcomes this partnership with the VA, citing the need to have health care professionals familiar with military life. Stars and Stripes reports:

It could be "a game-changer for veterans," said Jeremy Chwat, chief strategy officer at Wounded Warrior Project.

"The reason we pursued this, in large part, is that in findings year over year in our survey, warriors are struggling to access mental health care on a daily basis," he said. "There's a dearth of culturally competent clinicians to meet the need."

Participating hospitals include: Emory Healthcare's Veterans Program in Atlanta, the Home Base Program at Massachusetts General in Boston, Operation Mend at UCLA Health in Los Angeles and the Road Home Program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

For more on the crisis at the VA, check out Reason TV's 2013 documentary, "Is Government Bureaucracy Failing Our Vets?"

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

24 responses to “Dept. of Veterans Affairs Turns to Private Sector for Help

  1. I hope we don’t find out this is yet another scheme to somehow funnel tax dollars to cronies.

    1. From the military? Why I never!!

    2. Odd how there is over $600 billion to blow on running DoD, but when the people need “maintenance”, the dollars can’t be found.

      The government blew over $2 trillion on the Iraq/Afghanistan wars. It lost the lives of more than 4000 men. What do we have to show for it? A bunch of vets with mental problems — and none of that $2+ trillion to help them.

      Who says the military doesn’t “leave men behind”?

  2. The WCN is a network of private hospitals across the country that will offer outpatient mental health care to thousands of veterans free of charge.

    See, without the VA, who in the private sector would ever step up and fill this need? This is why we need government programs, fools.

  3. Private sector? OH MEH GODS, the teabaggers have won again!

  4. How is this even necessary? I’ve been told by so many progressives that the VA is wonderful and all the stories about it are false. Like so wonderful that it should be used as a model for wonderful single payer wonderfulness.

    1. All stories about anything getting better by being taken over by the private sector are lies being spewed by Kochtopus puppets, like you, bagger!

      1. Still waiting for my Kochbux check.

  5. But but but Krug-man assures me that the V.A. is the prime example of how single-payer health care should be set up in this country! Prime, i tell you!

  6. As a Liberal, I use to believe that the Government could run healthcare. That is, that we can have clinics operated by the government.

    Let me tell you my libertarians friends, you got me on this one. After seeing how the Government treats kids returning from war that are catastrophically injured, crippled, disfigured, mentally-fucked-up…I’m and convinced that the Government should not run public clinics.

    The Government should allow veterans to go to any Doctor. Scrap the Veterans Hospitals and Administration and put the money to insurance policies in which veterans can go anywhere in the healthcare free market.

    1. Healthcare free market

      Interesting concept that is.

      1. Yeah, we’re gonna have to get one of those first.

        1. lol,

          I wish we could have a free market for healthcare. I think the best we can settle for is to establish an insurance product that guarantees that everyone gets the healthcare they need from where ever they want it.

          The problem with insurance is that the individual loses the purpose of shopping by price. Why, because they are not directly paying. Any third-party payer causes this problem. It can be AETNA, Medicare, Medicaid, your employer, etc. If you don’t directly pay the doctor, you don’t know what it cost and you have no interest in shopping for who charges more/less.

          I disagree with Libertarians on this point that we can have REAL FREE MARKET for Healthcare. Life/death situations are in-elastic. I know you guys know what that means. You will come back to me with the food is in-elastic. However, that argument doesn’t fly with me because food is abundant. This is not the case with life saving treatment.

          We should allow doctors, biomedical engineers, pharmacuticals, etc. to charge what they want. If you don’t, innovation in medicine will STOP. The only reason a pill cost $10 in mexico and $100 in America is because it was invented in America by a big-pharma that can depend on an insurance that will pay $100.

          1. I think it’s about time for you to take some more Percocet, because that was pretty lucid. Except for the part where you say

            I disagree with Libertarians on this point that we can have REAL FREE MARKET for Healthcare

            …right in between two paragraphs describing exactly how a REAL FREE MARKET for Healthcare could happen.

        2. lol,

          I wish we could have a free market for healthcare. I think the best we can settle for is to establish an insurance product that guarantees that everyone gets the healthcare they need from where ever they want it.

          The problem with insurance is that the individual loses the purpose of shopping by price. Why, because they are not directly paying. Any third-party payer causes this problem. It can be AETNA, Medicare, Medicaid, your employer, etc. If you don’t directly pay the doctor, you don’t know what it cost and you have no interest in shopping for who charges more/less.

          I disagree with Libertarians on this point that we can have REAL FREE MARKET for Healthcare. Life/death situations are in-elastic. I know you guys know what that means. You will come back to me with the food is in-elastic. However, that argument doesn’t fly with me because food is abundant. This is not the case with life saving treatment.

          We should allow doctors, biomedical engineers, pharmacuticals, etc. to charge what they want. If you don’t, innovation in medicine will STOP. The only reason a pill cost $10 in mexico and $100 in America is because it was invented in America by a big-pharma that can depend on an insurance that will pay $100.

    2. Scrap the Veterans Hospitals and Administration and put the money to insurance policies

      You mean like a veterans version of MediCare, that government insurance program that doctors try to avoid like the plague because the payments are so fucked up.

      How about this for a crazy idea: let’s have fewer veterans in the first place.

      The VA exists because being a vet puts you in a lousy risk pool. Being in a lousy risk pool is also why the VA sucks.

  7. Alice,

    That’s a great step towards liberty, and a step away from the violent coercive state. For healthcare to have any chance, it needs to become a truly free market without the state. There is so much cronyism when it comes to things like favored drug companies, state licensure, and on goes the list.

    The more the state has involved itself in healthcare, the more expensive it has become. The same can be said for anything else they touch. Why when the violent coercive state is not involved, do products and services flourish? There are no shortages, no chaos, and competition brings with it lower prices?

    So many people that championed the new healthcare law, and to go even further saying those folks in fancy clothes should be in charge of everything through a single payer system, never even cared to realize the disaster that is the single payer VA system.

    1. If the care was so great, either eu the politicians and their families would be subjected to either of these systems. That is not the case.

      Income inequality? A person in poverty now would have over $100,000 dollars of purchasing power had they never stole real money from individuals, and replaced it with fiat paper backed by nothing. Yet so many support central banks, inflation and economic policies that if applied to a house or business would lead to bankruptcy. What individual would choose to give up their capital to business whose plan will mismatch assets and liabilities??

      After over 18 trillion and the growth of government, shouldn’t they look to lower the retirement age? Things should be so much better, and individuals should be much better off. Yet as in the previous paragraph they are not, and suffer at the hands of government.

      People shouldn’t have to be enslaved to those who have a slaver mentality. They should be individually responsible for their wants. Want a currency that is continually debauched? Fine, use it, while others are free to choose real money. Want to rob and steal from others, do it yourself and face the consequences.

  8. If you feel the need to help others get healthcare, solicit donations from others through a private charity. If you want to get it any other way, you have to rob people. I doubt you’d get very far before facing consequences.

    1. If you read a couple threads down, Alice thinks it’s completely dandy for the government to rob people on his behalf.

      1. If someone wouldn’t rob their neighbor of their property, or for say, paying for their healthcare, food, bills, but they advocate politicians to do the same……what does that make them?

  9. in hopes of becoming formerly involved

    FORWARD THINKING!

  10. Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8596 a month. I’ve started this job and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…
    http://www.HomeJobs90.com

  11. Funny thing. When I practiced medicine here in NE AR, I saw a few veterans. But, I think they stopped that when they built two VA facilities, close by. I would think that should have solved the, long wait, problems. Could it be that these problems have happened, where the veteran population is very large, and there are too few facilities to see them? Then again when a doctor is salaried, he does not have to worry about how many patients he can see in a day.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.