Seven years ago, the Phoenix VA Medical Center wait-time scandal exploded, revealing a mismanaged system that was denying timely care to veterans and, in some cases, leaving them to die.
If the Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t act soon to get a handle on the lack of access to community care, the tragedy could happen again, writes Darin Selnick, a senior advisor to Concerned Veterans for America, in a USA Today commentary. He writes:
“Shocking as it might seem, we have no way of knowing what the real wait-times are at VA facilities because the VA has not reported relevant data for almost two years, since implementation of the Community Care program created by the VA MISSION Act began on June 6, 2019.”
Members of Congress are among those urging the VA to act, asking Secretary Denis McDonough to look into reports of veterans having to travel all across New England in search of care.
The VA MISSION Act expanded the availability of community care for veterans, but the program won’t work the way it was intended if the department doesn’t support it. Congress and the administration need to ensure that every veteran has access to the care they earned, inside or outside the VA system, Selnick writes.
“It all adds up to another wait-time scandal waiting to happen,” he writes, surely not how Secretary McDonough wants to begin his tenure.
You can read Darin Selnick’s full piece in USA Today.