Disabled American Veterans (DAV) National Legislative Director Joseph Violante, during his recent testimony before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, proposed a new four-part framework for reforming the Veterans Affairs healthcare system, according to a news release from DAV and PR Newswire.

“The framework we are proposing today addresses critical areas to rebuild, restructure, realign, and reform the VA health care system to meet the needs of America’s veterans well into the future,” Violante told the Committee, per the release.

DAV’s proposed framework for long-term solutions to providing timely and convenient access for veterans seeking healthcare, the release continues, includes rebuilding and sustaining VA’s capacity to provide timely, high-quality care, beginning with a long-term strategy to recruit, hire, and maintain sufficient clinical staff at all VA treatment facilities; and restructuring the non-VA care program into a single integrated, extended care network, requiring VA to first complete research and analysis related to the “choice” program and allowing the Commission on Care to complete its work, with Congress providing a single, separate and guaranteed funding mechanism for the VA Extended Care program.

It also includes, the release continues, realigning and expanding VA health care services to meet the diverse needs of future generations of veterans, beginning with the creation of VA urgent care services; and reforming VA’s management of the health care system by increasing efficiency, transparency, and accountability in order to become a veteran-centric organization.

“As we are still in the process of reviewing the effectiveness of the Choice program, it’s too soon to outline specific details of how to reform the VA health care system and non-VA care, but what we have done is establish a road map to help guide us,” Violante continued in his testimony, per the release.

DAV analyzed current policies and practices, and received input from its 1.2 million-member base, to come up with this new framework. The plan addresses adequate funding of the VA as a key component of long-term stability and capacity to meet growing demands for service, the release continues. It also calls for sufficient time to complete and thoroughly review the congressionally mandated Commission on Care prior to development or implementation of any long-term strategies.

“The VA faces serious challenges and is in need of a pathway for reform that will uphold our nation’s promise to care for America’s wounded, ill, and injured veterans,” said DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Garry Augustine, in the release. “Rather than fracturing veterans’ health care, DAV believes the VA must be strengthened, and should remain at the heart of how we deliver care to those who served.”

[Sources: Disabled American Veterans, PR Newswire]