As I write in this new blog in The American Prospect, Trump’s hiring freeze is hurting the VHA in spite of exemptions.
But veterans who rely on the VA for benefits, pensions, compensation, and health care are still in big trouble. Chronic staff shortages and underfunding have been at the heart of a VA crisis centered on long wait times for care. Though doctors, nurses, and certain other essential health-care professionals and support staff have been exempted from the freeze, that still leaves the VA with a multitude of vacancies that will hamper its ability to deliver high-quality care.
To be sure, the recent exemptions have led some who are worried about the VA’s future to breathe a sigh of relief. When Trump announced his blanket federal hiring freeze, it did not exempt anyone at the VA. That led lawmakers and veterans’ advocates to protest that the freeze would cripple the VHA. In response, acting VA Secretary Robert D. Snyder sent out a memorandum on January 27 exempting doctors, nurses, and other health-care professionals and clinical support staff from the freeze. READ MORE
This was just published on the Washington Monthly Site. It’s a great piece by a Vietnam combat veteran who was also a psychologist at the VHA for many years. Well worth the read.
Trump’s Pick for VA Secretary Could Continue Obama’s Progress by Edgardo Padin-Rivera
January 20, 2017.
As a veteran who served in Vietnam and then has spent nearly 30 years as a psychologist at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), I am heartened by President Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Dr. David J. Shulkin, who served as undersecretary for health in the VA under Obama, is very different from Trump’s other cabinet picks. He supports the VHA’s mission and is opposed to privatizing VHA services. Although he believes veterans should be able to receive care from private sector providers, he wants that care to be integrated into the VHA system, which, as all evidence shows, delivers higher quality care to veterans at lower cost than the private sector ever could.
That said, there is still a lot to worry about as Congress, the media and the president continue to publish misleading articles about the VHA and propose legislation that will end up jeopardizing its quality and even its very existence.
Consider for example, how VA healthcare is portrayed in much of the media.READ MORE
This amazing story was posted on the new website Fighting for Veterans’ Health Care. It’s written by a veteran who was dismissed by private sector health care and really cared for at the VHA. Samuel Jay Keyser is also writing a book about his experiences in both the private sector and the VHA.
Samuel Jay Keyser
July 7, 2014 was my 79th birthday. I spent the morning in an ambulance. As ominous as that might sound, it was a blessing. I was being transferred from a not-for-profit private rehabilitation hospital to the Veterans Administration (VA) hospital in West Roxbury, Massachusetts where, over the course of the next year and a half, as an inpatient and outpatient, I would receive the best possible care a spinal cord injured person could hope for. READ MORE
Phillip Longman, author of Best Care Anywhere, has just done this excellent post in The Washington Monthly about the New York Times coverage of the VHA. People should contact the New York Times’s public editor to register their concerns about the continual bias in the Times coverage of the VHA. See also my stories in The American Prospect on this issue.
Please read Longman’s story. It is very important.
More Fake News about VA Hospitals
This time, the hapless New York Times is the culprit.
Just did this new blog post for the American Prospect. Please read and share.
In the debate over the future of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), no concept has attracted more controversy than “privatization.” Since wholesale privatization of the VHA is deeply unpopular among veterans and their advocacy organizations, groups like the Koch brothers-funded Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) argue that they do not support “privatization” of the VHA. As the CVA’s “Fixing Veterans Health Care” report, published earlier this year explains, the group just wants to give veterans “the same degree of choice that is available to other Americans,” with the federal government paying the tab.
Last week, The Washington Post entered the fray. Writing for the paper’s “Fact Checker” column, reporter Michelle Ye Hee Lee gave Senator Jon Tester of Montana and Representative Mark Takano of California, both Democrats, three out of a possible four Pinocchios (signifying “significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions”) for suggesting that the CVA and Trump transition team members support VHA privatization. According to Lee, the CVA’s position does not constitute privatization because, the “CVA has not proposed a wholesale transfer of VHA’s services over to the private sector—which is what ‘privatization’ usually describes.”