Health Policy for U.S. Veterans

Peer Response: Unit 2
Unit 2 Discussion 1 – Health Policy for U.S. Veterans
Instructions:
• Review your classmate’s post, including their references. Explain why you agree or disagree with their assessment of the state/federal policies they identified.
• Regarding privatization of the VA healthcare system: reflect on your opinion and identify differences or alignment with your classmates. Engage in constructive and respectful dialog about these opinions.
Please be sure to validate your opinions and ideas with citations and references in APA format.
Peer response Tiffany
Veterans in America are looked upon highly and appreciated mostly on certain holidays but forgotten when it comes to living a quality life after putting theirs on the line. The healthcare available for veterans by the government includes the Veteran’s Administration (VA) which in 2014 included the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) that US Congress authorized in order to allow greater access to care (Griffith et al, 2020). Though the VCP was a step to reach veterans in rural areas, there are hardships to reaching approval to seeking private healthcare. In a study published in 2020, mean appointment wait times for veterans at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) clinics were conducted from 2013-2019 and compared to the wait times of community care (Griffith et al, 2020). The results from this study show that VHA authorization for community care over in-house VA care took a mean of 6.4 days, which was added to the already 49 days mean community care wait time (Griffith et al, 2020). So when comparing the overall wait times for a sick veteran to seek care, the VA on average is 41.1 days and community care takes 49 days plus 6.4 days for VA authorization (Griffith et al, 2020). In the United States Veterans who have put their life on hold and on the line so that others could have the freedoms of being an American are told to put their health status on hold for over a month. There are no sufficient studies available to understand the risk this poses to Veterans and the related health disparities they experience while waiting to seek medical care. Personally, I believe if people were made aware of the shocking numbers of heroes suffering and dying after they come back from a war they survived, there would be an outrage. Therefore, I advocate for the privatization of VA healthcare though it costs more, it would allow proper healthcare and shorter wait times to those who may deserve it most. Another option to decrease wait times for veterans who needs to seek healthcare would be further liberalization of the VCP that was implemented in 2014, which would allow for increased eligibility for veterans to seek community care. Though this option would not do justice to veterans already living in underserved areas since statistically VHA clinics that have longer wait times also have surrounding community clinics with longer wait times (Griffith et al, 2020). Overall, a change has to be made to how the country treats its veterans and gives them the humanity, as well as the respect they deserve.
Reference:
Griffith, K. N., Ndugga, N. J., & Pizer, S. D. (2020). Appointment Wait Times for Specialty Care in Veterans Health Administration Facilities vs Community Medical Centers. JAMA network open, 3(8), e2014313. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.14313
Peer Response April
Adequate care of veterans has been an issue throughout American history. The needs of veterans have previously and unfortunately still currently are not being met in many instances. Some issues involve access to care involving extended drive times to get to Veteran Affairs (VA) hospitals and lengthy wait times to receive appointments. The extensive need for reform is being acknowledged and some changes are beginning to take place. One instance involves the Mission Act which was signed into law in 2018. (Shulkin, 2019) This allows veterans to seek care outside of the VA systems if the care cannot be provided by the VA and also expands care within the VA’s network. The act also begins to provide benefits for caregivers of Veterans and seeks additional providers for veterans. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2019) Even with these changes I think more work needs to be done to ensure veteran healthcare needs are being met.
I believe that I do not know enough about veterans’ personal situations and differences between privatized health care and what is provided by the VA to actively advocate for either side. I think that changes definitely need to be made to ensure veterans are provided the same or better health care than other Americans. After reading the provided article on the topic I lean towards not privatizing veterans’ care. The reasons I think it would not be beneficial is that the majority of peer reviewed studies show that privatized care is the same or worse than the care received by veterans. VA care is also highly regulated and funded by the government by privatizing it there could be more room for error and less funding for care. Cost would be increased by privatizing VA care and these costs would most directly be taken out of current VA funds. This could lead to worsening care in current VA hospitals where many veterans may still go to receive care. (VA.org, 2019)
References
Shulkin, D. (2019). Implications for Veterans’ health care: The danger becomes clearer. JAMA Internal Medicine, 1586-1587. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.2996
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2019, December 13). Mission Act Strengthens VA care: https://missionact.va.gov/
VA.org. (2019). Privatization of Veterans’ healthcare: https://va.org/privatization-of-veterans-healthcare/
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