This article in Stars and Stripes caught my eye. One the one hand, it makes very good sense for the VA to seek “partners” willing to contribute and help with the medical care of our veterans. Such efforts might help provide an upgrade to the care provided to veterans. It could be an enhancement. On the other hand, shouldn’t enough money be appropriated by Congress and managed appropriately by the VA to accomplish its mission? If the VA is seeking “contributions” to accomplish its basic mission something is wrong.
The story addresses a situation in Nebraska, building a new ambulatory care center at the facility in Omaha. The $30 million project is not a “nice to have” addition. In the world of modern medicine such facilities are not a luxury. They are basic to providing care for veterans. One has to applaud the efforts of the Omaha community to help improve its local VA medical center. I have no doubt that there are good people behind this who are trying to do the right thing. However, there is a risk to this sort of practice which reminds me of the old expression, be careful what you wish for. Call me cynical, but looking into the future it’s not hard to imagine the VA justifying poor facilities or lapses in care because it lacks private “partners.” That would be entirely consistent with its recent history.
If the VA medical system were consistently operating anywhere near to where it should be at all its locations, I could see such arrangements as clearly beneficial. Before seeking contributions from “partners” – and making its mission dependent on such connections – the VA needs to get its own house in order. In that regard, it has a long ways to go.
To view the full article on the Stars and Stripes website, please click here.