In a recent episode of the American Potential podcast, CVA Executive Director Russ Duerstine spoke about the work CVA is doing to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs and hold the VA accountable for the way it cares for veterans.
Russ spoke in depth about the rampant appointment wait time manipulation happening at the VA as the department attempts to keep veterans going to the VA rather than using their VA benefits to see their own doctors.
Russ attributes this mishandling of appointments to the VA wanting to maintain its control over veterans’ health care.
“There’s one entity that’s allowed to have a monopoly, and that’s the government,” Russ told host Jeff Crank. “The government for some reason thinks that they’re allowed to monopolize veterans’ health care.”
Keeping veterans stuck in the VA’s system rather than letting them seek timely, quality care on their own terms is typical of the massive, government-run health care system. Russ continued “this exists in any bureaucracy – the bureaucracy comes before the need of the person they’re supposed to be serving”.
The solution is supporting and implementing legislation that truly puts veterans at the center of their health care. The VA should be a strong option for veterans who want to use it for care. And for those who want more choices, the VA should step out of the way.
Russ concludes that even if the VA is the best option in certain situations, that doesn’t matter much when wait times are misrepresented and veterans cannot get the care they need soon enough. “Excellence without choice still ends up in tragedy and despair for too many veterans”
Listen to the rest of Russ’ conversation with Jeff Crank on American Potential.