FORBES | I had the privilege of speaking at the Concerned Veterans for America Summit last week in Washington, D.C. I’ve written about my concern for veterans’ healthcare before (and I highlighted some of my thoughts immediately before the Summit). Our healthcare system needs a lot of work, and having served as a VA staff surgeon for nine years, the care we offer our veterans is an area of particular concern for me.
In my experience as both a physician and former Senator, I have come to believe a forward thinking, technologically advanced, and efficient 21st Century American Health Care System should be patient-centered, consumer-driven, and provider-friendly.
I developed these conclusions after years of practicing medicine in this country and all over the world, as well as having a front row seat to the evolution of healthcare in our country: from fee-for-service, to managed care, to the current transition to value-based healthcare.
I know that people need to have some skin in the game. We can talk about concepts like moral hazard and healthcare literacy as complicating patient autonomy, but ultimately the most important person in a healthcare decision is the patient.
Read more at Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/billfrist/2015/03/02/separate-health-care-for-veterans-does-not-best-serve-our-vets/#5ce4986467f8
THE WASHINGTON POST | Imagine how we would meet the service-related health-care needs of military veterans if we had a clean slate and were considering the question for the first time. The answer is obvious. Just as we do with veterans’ educational benefits, we would use the private sector. We would never create something like the Veterans Health Administration(VHA) that exists today.
But we are not writing on a clean slate. The United States owns and operates the highly bureaucratic and inefficient VHA, a legacy institution that badly needs reform. Last year’s legislation expanding health-care choice for select veterans and holding senior VHA executives accountable was a step in the right direction. But some of its key measures are temporary or are not being fully utilized or implemented efficiently.
If endless funding, more personnel or piecemeal reforms were the answer, the VHA wouldn’t be failing. Since 2006, the budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs, which oversees the VHA, has ballooned by a staggering $91 billion, and the VA has added 101,000 employees. This growth has coincided with worsening care for a shrinking veterans population. Bolder reforms are sorely needed to improve the convenience, timeliness and quality of care received by veterans with health needs resulting from their service.
Read more at The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-bold-blueprint-for-transforming-veterans-health-care/2015/02/26/e16f8b4c-bc2a-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html?utm_term=.49f0c23843a6