Just before Memorial Day, a Maryland congressman recently proposed shrinking the scope of services the VA provides to veterans. How would he do this? He proposes a model:
…where the VA is not the place of general health care for the veterans, but the place of highly-specialized care where skilled professionals are particularly well-equipped to deal with issues that veterans have based on their service. But then for routine care, the veterans might prefer to just access the general health care system,” Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) said on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
The question is, what is a military-related condition. PTSD is clearly linked to medical service, but what about depression. Many people have major depressive disorder who are not in the military and it is unclear whether or not this would be covered. Further, for a patient with mental health issues and other conditions (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular disease), would they need to work with two different health systems to treat their different diseases? Where would the line be drawn.
Health care is moving towards more integrated care. While allowing for specialization does clearly offer some benefits, the logistics for implementing this type of programming would be challenging to say the least and could place more burden on veterans to navigate a more complex web of health insurance coverage.