My OpEd in the San Francisco Examiner

This was published on Sunday July 24, in the San Francisco Examiner.

Veterans question VHA privatization push

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are pictured during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 3, 2015. (Andrew Harnik/AP) Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are pictured during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 3, 2015. (Andrew Harnik/AP) By on July 24, 2016 1:00 am Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

California has more veterans … Continue reading

Position Paper of 9 Organizations on Commission on Care Report

vha_mat_croppedNine organizations — including unions, associations of clinicians, and others — have issued an important position statement on the proposed VHA Care System.  Please read and share.

Position Paper on Commission on Care Final Report

Association of VA Psychologist Leaders Association of VA Social Workers
Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs Veterans Affairs Physician Assistant Association American Federation of Government Employees National Federation of Federal Employees National Nurses United
American Psychological Association National Association of Social Workers

July 21, 2016

On June 30, 2016, the Commission on Care submitted its Final Report required by the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014.

As organizations comprised of and representing health care practitioners, researchers, educators, administrators and personnel devoted to serving Veterans, we have serious reservations about the report’s major recommendation to replace the current VHA with a new entity, to be known as the VHA Care System. In the proposed VHA Care System, Veterans would be permitted to receive care from any local facility or provider who has been credentialed by VHA. Oversight for Veterans’ health care would be handed over to a newly created, external governance board.

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BMJ Post Sitting at the Table or Not

This was just published on the BMJ blog.


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Suzanne Gordon: Encouraging all members of a medical team to speak up

12 Jul, 16 | by BMJ


The oval, mahogany table dominates the center of the large conference room. A number of chairs circle the table and dot the perimeter of the room. Every week, a group of high level hospital administrators, physician leaders, and leaders of other professional and occupational disciplines—physical therapy, social work, clinical directors of nursing, housekeeping, etc—gather in this room to discuss hospital function. They call themselves a “team” and the gathering a “team meeting.”

Nothing indicates that places at the table are reserved for particular participants. But today, as happens every week, when physicians and hospital administrators enter the room, they … Continue reading

Conversation with Philip Longman about the VHA

This was just posted on the Washington Monthly blog, please read and share

A Conversation About the Commission on Care and the Future of the VA

by Phillip Longman and Suzanne Gordon July 14, 2016 Politics VA hospital in WacoLarry D. Moore/Wikimedia Commons

Two years ago, in the wake of a scandal involving long wait times at some VA hospitals, Congress called for the creation of a bipartisan Commission on Care to study the VA and recommend reforms. It was widely expected that the commission would recommend sweeping privatization of VA health care — two of the commission’s fifteen members were representatives of Koch brothers-allied pro-privatization groups and several others were executives from major medical centers that stand to profit from outsourcing VA care.

Phillip Longman

Earlier this month, the Commission on Care released its final report. While offering a series of recommendations on how to improve the quality of health care veterans receive, the Commission, surprisingly, took a strong stance against the privatization of the VA.

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My Analysis of VA Commission on Care Final Report

This just appeared in The American Prospect

Report: VHA Care Commission Recommends Privatizing Some Services

As conservatives and congressional Republicans seek to dismantle the Veterans Health Administration, members of the commission called for giving veterans more private-sector options.

(Photo: AP/Mark Thiessen)

The Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic in Anchorage, Alaska

After almost a year of meetings and hearings, the Commission on Care has finally issued its report on the future of the Veterans Health Administration. “Care delivered by the VA,” the congressionally mandated report states, “is in many ways comparable or better in clinical quality to that generally available in the private sector.”

But with problems in accessing services, in variations in care, and in the managerial culture at various facilities, the commission believes that the major remedy lies not in outright privatization but in giving veterans more private-sector options, a finding that veterans groups fear may also weaken the decades-old system.

One of the commission’s most complex and potentially problematic recommendations involves the creation of a “VHA Care System,” that would integrate private-sector providers into a VHA-supervised network. The network … Continue reading