The Department of Veterans Affairs is working tirelessly to find a solution to the on-going healthcare crisis facing America’s veterans. The first workaround, the Veterans Choice program, looked good on paper, but has been less effective in practice has providers and veterans face administrative obstacles. This week we read an interesting article on GovDataDownload about a collaborative effort between Iron Bow, NetApp, and several other technology providers, to delivery quality healthcare via telehealth. With a concept vehicle showcasing the possibilities at VA facilities across the country, this seems like a promising solution for the VA and veterans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continues to struggle with the challenges of providing healthcare to America’s veterans. When the story about the lengthy waiting times veterans experience when seeking medical care at VA facilities came out two years ago, the department responded quickly with the Veterans Choice program. The Choice program, in which the VA has invested $10 billion, provided cards to veterans to get medical care outside the system if they “were more than 40 miles away from a VA facility, or they were going to have to wait longer than 30 days for a provider to see them.”
On paper this seemed like a simple solution to the backlog and an opportunity to provide veterans with much needed care, but recent reporting by National Public Radio (NPR) has shown that wait times for veterans have become worse, not better. In a recent story on veterans’ healthcare, NPR also revealed that “compared with this time last year, there are 70,000 more appointments that took vets at least a month to be seen.” While the VA has cited an increase in the number of veterans seeking healthcare, it would appear that delays are more than likely connected to the complexities of coordinating multiple providers.
However, what if there was a solution that allowed veterans to receive care within the VA system but did not rely on being able to get to a VA facility? What if instead of having the veteran travel to a VA hospital, veterans could use community-based clinics to access VA care?
To learn more about the innovative solution that’s getting healthcare to veterans in need within the VA system, you can read the rest of the article here.