Government watchdog urges changes to ensure veterans get best care

Focus on Veterans Community Care Program
hospital mental health
Posted at 9:47 AM, Feb 09, 2021

NORFOLK, Va. - A government watchdog is urging the Veterans Administration to make changes to ensure veterans are getting the highest quality of care.

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office looked at the Veterans Community Care Program. It was established in 2019 and allows eligible veterans to see non-VA health care providers.

Under the program rules, providers who have been disciplined for poor quality of care are not able to participate, but the GAO says the processes in place currently may not prevent ineligible providers from participating.

The GAO cites an example of the VA not always verifying if providers have lost their license over care quality.

The report also says it is problematic that providers who were removed from VA facilities over care quality issues prior to 2019 are still eligible to participate.

As of September, the VA had removed 136 ineligible providers from participating in the program, but a GAO review dating back to July 2016 found an additional 227 providers who had been removed from VA employment but could potentially be providing care in the program.

The GAO has made three recommendations to the VA to ensure veterans are receiving the best care possible.

You can read the full report from the Government Accountability Office here.