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CVA to VA: reconsider proposal to restrict veterans’ access to care amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Concerned Veterans for America

CVA to VA: reconsider proposal to restrict veterans’ access to care amid COVID-19 pandemic

Veterans group urges VA not to proceed with policy to suspend VA MISSION Act community care program

  

ARLINGTON, Va.—In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) urged the VA to reconsider a proposal to restrict veterans’ access to health care in their community. The response came following reports on Tuesday of a VA proposal to temporarily suspend the community care access standards of the VA MISSION Act, effectively limiting the options veterans have available should they need care. 

CVA Executive Director Nate Anderson had this to say about the proposal: 

“The VA’s proposal to restrict the VA MISSION Act’s community care program for veterans during a national health crisis is troubling. Like other parts of the health care system during this current crisis, the VA should be working to remove barriers between veterans and their health care, not creating new barriers.

While many health care providers are under immense strain, others may still have the capacity to treat veterans for routine conditions that impact their long-term wellbeing. A blanket approach like the VA has proposed, does not account for the unique circumstances facing many communities and their respective medical systems.  

We urge the VA not to proceed with any policy proposal that would limit the ability of veterans to access care in the community if they believe it is the best option for them and capacity is available. President Trump has been a consistent champion of expanding health care choice for veterans and we are hopeful he will not let this proposed policy change proceed.”

Recently, CVA sent a letter to President Trump, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Wilkie and members of Congress outlining a set of policy recommendations and actions that will ensure veterans maintain access to health care services and position the VA to utilize its resources to meet the dynamic needs of the American public in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

BACKGROUND

The VA MISSION Act was developed with the goal of better integrating the VA with community health care providers, fixing structural issues with the VA’s outside care programs, and ultimately improving access to care while expanding the health care options available to veterans through the VA.

Notably, it was also endorsed by over 30 veteran service organizations (VSO) and was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support before being signed into law by President Trump in June 2018.