Sen. Moran Leads Colleagues in Urging VA to Correct Policies Affecting Veteran Access to Care

Senator Jerry Moran, the ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, recently led a group of 19 Senators in urging VA Secretary Denis McDonough to address policy issues that are limiting veterans’ access to healthcare in their communities. The Senators are concerned about recent actions by VA leaders that are restricting opportunities for community care for veterans.

In 2018, Congress passed the MISSION Act, which aimed to increase access to healthcare for veterans by expanding their ability to seek care from providers in their communities. However, in recent months, VA leaders have been working to limit community care opportunities.

The Senators argue that if VA believes it lacks funding for patient care, it should reprioritize resources from non-patient care areas and reduce waste, fraud, and abuse. They claim that community care is cost-effective, with an average cost of $58 per RVU in the community compared to $116 per RVU in VA’s direct care system.

The Senators raised concerns about the Red Team’s recommendations, which suggest saving money by reducing community care referrals for veterans seeking emergency, oncology, and mental health care. They also mentioned instances where VA had cancelled community care authorizations for veterans in need of cancer treatments and non-narcotic pain relief.

The Senators also express concern about the impact of increased reliance on VA’s direct care system on veterans and VA staff, given VA’s recent strategic hiring pause and plan to reduce staff by 10,000 employees. They emphasized that Congress has always provided VA with sufficient resources to fulfill its mission.

Finally, the Senators ask Secretary McDonough to act without delay to refute the Red Team’s recommendations and issue guidance to all VA staff reaffirming veterans’ right to seek community care. They argued that doing anything less is detrimental to the progress VA has made through the MISSION Act and a personal affront to veterans across the country.

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