VA Mission Act Part 2

There is a lot to learn, understand and uncover in relation to the VA Mission Act of 2018. In this post we’re going to focus on clearing up some common misconceptions that surround the VA Mission Act.

Misconception 1: The Act was passed to limit the VA’s involvement and effectiveness. 

  • Truth: The Act was supported by 38 different veterans groups and had bipartisan support, passing the House 347-70 and the Senate 92-5. The goal of the Act was not to limit the VA, but to change its focus from handling everything internally at any cost, to prioritizing the veterans who needed care. VA health care appointment availability often causes veterans to wait months (often in pain) before being seen. The sole dependency on the VA for health care options was widely recognized as a serious issue. The Act was put into place to open up the VA partnering more with outside and community health care; to streamline, standardize shorter wait times, and offer quality and more personalized care for each veteran.

Misconception 2: The Act was passed to privatize Veteran’s Affairs.

  • Truth: The Act was not meant to privatize the VA health care system. It was passed to allow for more coverage and approved options outside of the VA’s own health care system when it makes sense and is needed. The purpose was to provide better choice and timeliness for veteran health care needs when the VA health care system cannot meet those needs quickly. 

Misconception 3: The access standards proposed for the community care program are much too broad and will negatively affect the existing VA system.

  • Truth: If you are familiar with TRICARE, the access standards under the Mission Act are very similar. TRICARE has overall been very successful at providing health care access from both the VA system and outside providers. The Mission Act strives to balance supporting the VA in focusing on its core mission and capabilities AND putting veterans and their health care needs and accessibility first.

Misconception 4: Community care access will be too expensive, causing further financial strain on the VA.

  • Truth: The VA must work with practical cost-mitigation strategies. If they do that, community care access isn’t more of a financial burden. The focus must be on utilizing common sense approaches to balancing VA care and community care access, with the needs of the veteran being the driving factor. 

Summary

The VA health care system is in dire need of a major overhaul and improvements. The Mission Act was passed to help this process by ensuring veterans get quality and timely care, whether that is within the VA system and its capabilities, or through community care. Rather than being seen as a threat, the Act should be viewed as what it is meant to be, a support beam for the VA to be able to focus and deliver in alignment with its sole purpose and mission.

VA’s Mission (from the VA website)

To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans.

“Our department remains fully committed to fulfilling the sacred obligation that we have to those who serve in uniform.” ~VA Secretary Denis McDonough

-Our VA Mission and Core Values

No organization can succeed without values to match its mission. Our mission, as the Department of Veterans Affairs, is to care for those “who shall have borne the battle” and for their families, caregivers and survivors. Our core values focus our minds on our mission of caring and thereby guide our actions toward service to others.

VA Core Values describe how VA will accomplish its mission and inform every interaction with our customers. These Core Values are: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence — better known as “I CARE.” VA’s Core Values will continue to serve as the right guide for all our interactions and remind us and others that “I CARE.”

  • I care about those who have served.
  • I care about my fellow VA employees.
  • I care about choosing “the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”
  • I care about performing my duties to the very best of my abilities.

 

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