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After hearing from Iowa veterans frustrated by inadequate access to community health care providers, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote to Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Dennis McDonough to request additional information on the VA’s implementation of new access standards for community care.

In his letter, Grassley notes that the VA MISSION Act – a bill he supported in 2018 to help streamline veterans’ access to non-VA providers – may not be implemented in line with its intent by the VA.


“The Department of Veterans Affairs has an obligation to provide quality health care to eligible veterans in a timely manner. While many veterans are well-served by their VA facility, I am increasingly concerned that many veterans in Iowa and across the country are not able to access the care that they have earned,” the letter states.

Grassley also raises concerns that the VA’s guidance seems to deter veterans from seeking community care, even if the veteran is eligible to receive non-VA services. Additionally, possible distortions to wait times and the practice of canceling and rescheduling appointments may be preventing veterans who should be eligible for community care from accessing it.

“VA guidance on referrals to community care seems to direct VA staff to caution veterans against choosing community care when they are eligible. When a veteran faces a long wait time at the VA, or is better-served by a community provider, it is imperative that he or she does not face obstacles to accessing health care,” the letter continues.

Grassley concludes with several questions for Secretary McDonough, including what guidelines exist for determining accurate wait times, what the VA’s protocol is for canceling and rescheduling appointments without notifying the veteran, what steps the VA will be taking to ensure transparency moving forward, and more.

Read the full letter by clicking here

Author: Press Release


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