June 04, 2020

VA hospitals still an excellent choice for veterans

By Kayla M. Williams

As the first anniversary of MISSION Act implementation approaches, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is in an entirely unexpected position. While the MISSION Act of 2018 broadened the criteria by which veterans can seek non-VA care with the intention of reducing wait times and increasing choice for veterans, VA was instead asked to be willing to open its doors to civilians when the pandemic hit.

The need for VA to step in to support the civilian health care sector was particularly concerning given that veterans represent a population at increased risk from the novel coronavirus: 75 percent of veterans are over age 50, with 34 percent of those over the age of 70, and younger veterans may have been exposed to toxins that harm and thus compromise the lungs. Many of these veterans depend on VA full-service medical centers for care, even as non-VA options have been expanded under the MISSION Act.

When faced with choices between restaurants, hotels, or retail products, many of us turn to user reviews — but that type of information is harder for the average patient to find or understand when it comes to choosing where to get health care. And according to our new research, public perception of VA medical center care is often discordant with the actual high quality of that care.

Read the full article in The Hill.

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