The VA MISSION Act, signed into law in 2018 with strong support from CVA, nearly 30 other VSOs, and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, is supposed to expand community care options for veterans. Instead, VA bureaucrats are again working to limit veterans’ ability to access care.
FOIA documents from the VA reveal that the problem is nationwide and embedded in VA training, policy, and guidance. Some key findings include:
- VA’s failing to follow VA MISSION Act wait-time eligibility and denying community care.
- VA’s canceling and rescheduling appointments without the agreement of the veteran or offering community care.
- VA’s neglecting to advise veterans of their options and actively dissuading use of community care.
Another key piece of the VA MISSION Act is the establishment of an Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission, a panel whose purpose is to improve quality and access at the VA by reviewing what the VA currently owns, operates, and offers. The VA quietly announced recently it will delay releasing recommendations for realigning VA health care facilities. This move is a violation of requirements in the VA MISSION Act, and further pushes back needed efforts to review and assess VA facilities and the care they offer our veterans.
Delaying VA recommendations is just part of the pattern of the VA and the White House disregarding their responsibilities to get the AIR Commission off the ground.
The administration has a responsibility to follow law and should put the needs of veterans above the needs of the VA. Tell your members of Congress you want accountability for those who choose bureaucracy over veterans’ health care.