Manchester VA Underscores Urgent Need for Veterans Health Care Choice
Manchester, NH – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has taken decisive action to remove top officials at the Manchester VA after a scathing Boston Globe report alleged that the facility is putting veterans’ lives at risk due to extremely poor conditions. According to the Globe, eleven physicians and medical employees stepped forward about poor conditions in Manchester. The report was elevated to the department by New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu.
The VA had previously ranked the Manchester hospital as a “four-star” facility.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Executive Director Mark Lucas issued the following statement:
“We applaud Secretary Shulkin for responding decisively in light of these troubling allegations, but there needs to be a serious conversation about why veterans are still being forced to receive second class care at failing facilities. The VA accountability bill was a critical step toward helping the VA react quickly in circumstances like these, but the truth is that no veteran should ever be subjected to substandard conditions in the first place. Manchester is supposedly a four-star VA facility, and this doesn’t bode well for other VA hospitals around the country with lower ranks. Veterans in New Hampshire and across the country should be empowered with the choice to seek care outside the VA, particularly when their local VA is failing them.”
Recently, President Trump signed into law the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, a bipartisan measure which empowered Secretary Shulkin with the ability to discipline and fire VA employees more easily.
In April, the Senate passed and President Trump signed a reauthorization and extension of the Veterans Choice Act, which was passed originally in 2014 as a quick fix to the wait list scandal at the VA in Phoenix. Historically, the Veterans Choice Program has been poorly implemented and has not offered the veterans who qualify for it the real choice that the creators of the program envisioned. CVA supports the creation of a government-chartered non-profit within the VHA which would oversee the distribution of veterans’ health care benefits and give veterans real choice over where and when to see a doctor.