A new government report has shed some light on the controversial Phoenix veterans’ healthcare system. Two of the major sources of contention are the insurmountable number of in-hospital complications and post-surgery setbacks these veterans face.
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General released the results of this inspection just one day prior to President Donald Trump signing off on a bill in favor of veterans’ care. This bill expanded private care for those who have served this country instead of having them rely solely on the current VA system.
In attendance for this bill signing was Wanda Wright. She is the Director of Arizona Department of Veterans Services. There she witnessed the birth of what is being called the Mission Act. In an interview with KTAR News 92.3 FM, Wright stated, “It is, for me, a huge and significant act in that it will give veterans additional access to medical assistance.”
The bill passed with bipartisan support. Set to the tune of $51 billion, this bill stems from a response to a 2014 scandal that broke out at the Phoenix VA. During this time period, several veterans died as they waited for months to finally get an appointment.
Under the Mission Act, veterans can seek out private doctors if they don’t think they are getting adequate treatment from the VA. However, they must get approval from their VA provider.
Furthermore, the Mission Act also expands a caregivers program already in place. Currently, the families of those injured in the line of duty following 2001 are covered. Now, the program has been expanded to include families throughout all eras of service.
As far as the Phoenix VA is concerned, there have been improvements made since the 2014 scandal. Above all, the report notes that leadership has stabilized.
The report summary stated, “Upon review of selected employee and patient survey results, the OIG noted generally satisfied employees while facility leaders face a challenging task of rebuilding patient and public trust while improving organizational performance.”
It shouldn’t go without notice that the report also stated there were 13 areas where the VA facility could see improvement.