The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been in the news a lot lately, and not in a good way. A new law revamping the department and the way it delivers health care to our nation’s veterans seeks to put the department on the road to recovery.

The $16.3 billion bill, the Veterans Choice, Access, and Accountability Act of 2014, signed into law last month, is meant to help alleviate the problems that came to light this past spring, including the months-long waits that confronted many veterans who needed to see a doctor.

The bill provides money to the VA to hire thousands of doctors and nurses with the goal of getting veterans quicker access to health care at the VA’s nearly 1,000 hospitals and outpatient clinics. It also includes money that would allow veterans to obtain health care at non-VA providers if they live more than 40 miles from a VA facility or can’t get a medical appointment through the VA within 30 days.

The legislation also changes employment rules that would make it easier to fire VA executives found to act negligently or who don’t perform well.

Since the law was passed, the VA has announced an expansion of its plans to increase access to non-VA medical care and plans for a new Medical Appointment Scheduling System.

In a press release, the VA announced primary care has been added to the services through Patient-Centered Community Care contracts, which provides health care to veterans at non-VA facilities, as part of an initiative to move veterans off wait lists and get them medical appointments. The VA said it is exploring how this program can be used to implement the Veterans Choice, Access, and Accountability Act of 2014.

In another press release, the VA announced a Request for Proposal for a new Medical Appointment Scheduling System, which would replace the VA’s antiquated scheduling system with state-of-the-art management-based software.

“When we can put a solid scheduling system in place, this will free up more human resources to focus on direct Veterans’ care,” VA Secretary Robert McDonald said.

The VA is also developing mobile applications that will allow veterans to directly request certain primary care and mental health appointments and rolling out clinical video tele-health capabilities next month.

These are important first steps to helping our veterans get the health care they need and deserve. The legal community will be watching to make sure real change takes place and veterans receive medical care in a timely manner going forward.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

Recent Blog Post
Why Can’t I Use My Own Doctor on Workers’ Comp?

Workers’ compensation can help you recover lost wages and pay for causally related medical expenses if you are injured in a workplace accident. Knowing what to do if you suffer an injury on the job is vital to ensuring you…

surgery instruments
Workers’ Comp Settlement After Surgery

It is not unusual for an injury suffered in a job-site accident to require surgery. For most workers employed in South Carolina, the state’s workers’ compensation system should pay for surgery related to any injury suffered in a workplace accident….

3 Ways Trucking Companies Break the Law and Cause Crashes

The trucking industry forms the backbone of America’s freight transportation, with over 38.9 million vehicles moving over 72% of the nation’s freight in 2021. However, statistics compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also reveal accidents involving large…

How Long Does It Take to Get My Workers’ Comp Check?

If your workplace injury prevents you from working, discovering that your workers’ compensation claim was approved can be a huge relief. However, checks for lost wages are rarely issued immediately, often leaving injured workers struggling to pay bills after an…

Awards & Recognition
Media
CBS News
Fox
NBC
ABC