Military Connection: Newest Push to End VA Backlog: By Debbie Gregory

sep 16In an effort to improve care for all Veterans, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has set a goal to eliminate the appointment backlog by the end of 2015. In the latest efforts to accomplish this goal, VA secretary Robert McDonald announced that the department plans to increase the range of pay for its health care professionals.

Secretary McDonald told the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs Convention that more facilities, more employees and better pay for providers are the keys to solving the appointment wait-time problems that have plagued the VA for years.

The VA is hoping that a more competitive pay scale could sway top-of-their-field doctors to work for the VA instead of private hospitals around the country. Hiring the best would mean better and more efficient care for our nation’s Veterans.

The VA has also been reaching out to Veterans who are already on the waiting list, and attempting to set up appointments for them within the VA healthcare system or private healthcare facilities. As of the beginning of this month, the Veterans Health Administration has reached out to more than 240,000 Veterans in order to get them appointments, reducing the electronic waiting lists by 57%.

While the VA is making efforts to improve the situation, expansions take time, and the Veteran population is growing. The down-sizing of the entire U.S. Military is rapidly separating approximately 250,000 VA healthcare-eligible Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan each year.

Only time will tell if all of these new initiatives and expansion efforts will turn the VA around completely. But at least for now, the VA has halted on its course to total ruin and is coming about onto a new heading. With any luck, it will be full-speed ahead for eliminating the appointment backlog in 2015.

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Military Connection: Newest Push to End VA Backlog: By Debbie Gregory