March 17, 2020

Coronavirus pandemic illustrates the need to maintain a strong VA

By Kayla M. Williams

Schools, offices, and other businesses are shutting down nationwide as the United States ramps up its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we read about the extreme strain placed on Italian hospitals, many Americans are nervous about whether or not we have adequate resources within our healthcare system to care for a large number of seriously ill patients. How all of this will play out remains to be seen — but it drives home the need to maintain a strong system of VA medical facilities nationwide.

As virtually everyone knows, VA’s primary mission is to care for those “who shall have borne the battle,” and in terms of health care, it does so both by providing direct care and by paying for enrolled veterans to get care in the community. It fulfills two other functions that affect all our lives on a regular basis: training health care professionals and conducting cutting-edge medical research.

Its fourth, and least well-known, statutorily required function is to provide backup to the DOD medical system in a national security emergency and to support the National Disaster Medical System and Department of Health and Human Services as necessary.

Read the full article in The Hill.

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