WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) today reacted to President Obama's response to the Commission on Care Report, which was released late yesterday afternoon. The Commission's Report has been closely watched by all veterans service organizations, as it could greatly influence the future of veterans health care.
"The White House affirms the merits of the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) community care consolidation plan as the best approach to operating fully-integrated health care networks with VA ultimately responsible for coordination, rather than the virtual unfettered access that the Commission proposed in its report," state Executive Director Sherman Gillums, Jr.
The Commission's 300-page report contains 18 recommendations overall, including discussion about Information Technology reform, personnel management, and supply chain operations. It also emphasizes that many of these reforms come at a significant cost, and that it will take significant time to affect the wide-ranging reforms proposed in the report.
When the Department of Veterans Affairs responded to the commission report, it found that 15 of the 18 recommendations were feasible and advisable, and have already begun working to implement them. Paralyzed Veterans of America has guardedly supported much of the report, but has cautioned that it is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach to veterans' healthcare.
"The VA plan allows for better management of the system and ensures that VA is not forced by bureaucrats to decide how it will distribute resources for care that are already limited," added Gillums. "Placing veterans in the hands of providers in an alternative 'payer only' system of care that not only is ill-equipped to absorb the demand but is also, at best, minimally equipped in terms of expertise and the ability to coordinate such complex care over a veteran's lifetime, is not the answer. Paralyzed Veterans of America maintains that the VA system of care is the best system of care for its members."
Paralyzed Veterans' position on healthcare privatization is reinforced by President Obama's statement, as it specifically highlighted the unique and unmatched nature of VA specialized services, such as spinal cord injury care, and the need to ensure a viable system remains intact and is strengthened as necessary to support those specializes services.
"We agree with the President's opposition to the proposed governance board that was recommended by the Commission," said Gillums. "Replacing politically-appointed leadership with a board comprised of leaders representing multiple political ideologies will likely lead to even greater gridlock. At the very least, it is simply trading one political entity for another. What's really needed is the complete elimination of the political interference and better Congressional oversight, which is vital for VA reform and continued accountability."
VA and Paralyzed Veterans also strongly disagreed with the Commission on its proposed "board of directors" to oversee the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), with which President Obama also concurred. "The proposal would establish VHA as an independent agency, which would frustrate ongoing efforts to improve the Veteran's experience by integrating Veterans health care and services across VA, making it more difficult for Veterans to receive the quality care where, when, and how they need it," concluded Gillums.
Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For nearly 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.
As a partner for life, Paralyzed Veterans also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation and advocates for veterans and all people with disabilities. With more than 70 offices and 34 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. (www.pva.org)
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SOURCE Paralyzed Veterans of America