House com­mit­tee to ex­plore care for vet­er­ans dur­ing field hear­ing

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Matthew We­in­stock

The House Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Com­mit­tee will be us­ing the Au­gust re­cess to hear from the peo­ple.

Com­mit­tee Chair­man Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) sched­uled a field hear­ing for Aug. 10 in Du­luth, Minn., to get a sense of how the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Depart­ment can im­prove ac­cess to care, es­pe­cially in ru­ral ar­eas. Among other things, the com­mit­tee will look at how the VA can im­prove ca­pac­ity at its med­i­cal cen­ters and clin­ics. The com­mit­tee will also delve into the Choice pro­gram, which al­lows vet­er­ans to seek care at non-VA fa­cil­i­ties.

VA Sec­re­tary Dr. David Shulkin dur­ing a June Se­nate hear­ing an­nounced plans to over­haul Choice. The new pro­gram would jet­ti­son the cur­rent day and mile re­quire­ments. In­stead, a VA clin­i­cian would per­form a health-risk as­sess­ment on a pa­tient and de­ter­mine if the VA or a pri­vate provider would be the best place for the pa­tient to re­ceive care and work to­gether on the next steps for treat­ment.

Late last week, the ad­min­is­tra­tion said it plans to in­crease the use of tech­nol­ogy to im­prove vet­er­ans’ health. Ini­tia­tives in­clude us­ing video tech­nol­ogy and di­ag­nos­tic tools to con­duct med­i­cal ex­ams. Vet­er­ans also will be able to use mo­bile de­vices to make and man­age ap­point­ments with VA doc­tors.

“We call it ‘any­where to any­where’ VA health­care,” Shulkin said. Ex­ist­ing tele­health pro­grams pro­vided care to more than 700,000 vet­er­ans last year, he said.


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