Congress looking at a DoD/VA merger for veteran health care

| February 15, 2016 | 19 Comments

Chief Tango sends us link to the Daily Caller which discusses the prospect of a merger of VA and Department of Defense cooperative effort in the merger of resources to treat veterans. The Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago is exactly that kind of facility and it has been functioning since 2010.

The DOD and VA have been authorized to share resources since the 1980s and there are nine smaller jointly operated facilities around the country, but none has ever been as large as Lovell. When a Navy hospital and VA medical center were both dilapidated, then-Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk urged the building of a combined facility. The DOD and VA agreed to the merger in 2002 and it opened in 2010 after a $130 million construction effort.

Congress conceived of it as a pilot program that would report back after five years, with success meaning merging DOD and VA hospitals in other cities would be considered.

Honestly, I don’t have any complaints about the way both the VA and the DoD have treated me. My only problems have come from the administrative aspect – bean counters suck no matter which agency. I’m sure the bureaucrats will only take this opportunity to blame each other for the failings of the system. They can’t even find a way to electronically share medical records, I’m sure sharing care won’t work much better.

Category: Veteran Health Care

Comments (19)

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  1. Green Thumb says:

    The DoD is generally more thorough in their approach.

    The VA not so much.

    I imagine the VA is going to fight this. They would stand to lose about 30% of their administrative work force.

  2. Thunderstixx says:

    Oh goodie…
    Another place to lose our paperwork…
    Such fun…

  3. Slause says:

    The damn Good Idea Fairy is at it again! Agreed that beancounters are the same no matter where they work and while I could see some positives, I can imagine the budget cuts the VA would get to keep DOD mission essential.

  4. Ex-PH2 says:

    Brilliant! Now if someone will just tell the Good Idea Fairy to include making the VA charge Medicare for treating seniors who are vets, that will solve the entire issue. Won’t it?

    • Jarhead says:

      Not sure how this ties in, but every time I check in to the facility for treatment, there is a kiosk which requires an I. D. card for verification. One of the questions asked is whether I have any other insurance, including possibly on my wife’s employment insurance….as well as whether I am on Medicare. In spite of being on both, I have no idea if they charge either for any part of visit. If anything is charged to my wife’s policy, we are never advised of such.

  5. IDC SARC says:

    So under the ACA everyone has to have insurance. Why didn’t they just come up with a veteran’s rate?

    Oh….right

  6. Joseph says:

    I believe that the VA was at one time under the DoD umbrella.

  7. I get my VA care at a similar facility. It is the Joint Ambulatory Care Center, (JACC). The one I use treats both Veterans as well as active duty types. The local troops are sent there for specialized needs, i.e. CAT scans, Orthopedics, Respiratory, ENT, etc. I see it as a pleasure in that not all of use there are Geezer types. Seeing active duty troops anywhere is bether than seeing nothing but a bunch of old farts, who are, for the most part, bitching about the very service that they are depending on.

  8. L. Taylor says:

    I am not sure this is good idea. The army missed two severe issues my last two years that I reported several times. They just did not take the symptoms seriously.

    The VA took it seriously the moment I explained my symptoms. I had a tumor in my esophagus. I was lucky the because Occam’s razor was wrong and I had two different conditions simultaneously contributing, one even rarer than cancer, because if it had been malignant, which is more likely, then it would have been too late. By the time you are choking it is generally stage 3 and has a 9% survival rate.

    Army doctors tend to assume you have a “motive” or are malingering if you have symptoms that are not easily verified like “fatigue and swallowing problems”. They never even referred me to a barium swallow test. Which was standard.

    I would rather see them improve the VA then force us to be second and third priority patients for active hospitals.

    I was also having severe stomach problems during my last two years. The Army did an ultrasound and said it was “nothing”. The first year I was out I ended up in the emergency room several times. The first time was the Monday after my discharge. I was having gall stone attacks. They removed my gall bladder. The doctors told me that there was no way the Army missed the gallstone on the ultrasound and it was definitely not “nothing”.

    So I do not trust Army medicine. The VA is a pain in the ass but at least you can push back and get them to listen to their patients if you feel they are dragging their feet or not ordering tests.

    If the army dismisses a medical concern you out of luck entirely.

  9. L. Taylor says:

    And every single time congress has looked at “streamlining” benefits or making it more efficient it has resulted in a net loss to soldiers and veterans.

    Every single time.

    These kinds of congressional inquiries are almost never genuinely motivated by concern for veterans or soldiers. It is always a cost cutting or privatization motive,

    Despite the fact that privatization initiatives almost always end up resulting in greater costs to the government.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      Another thing the pols will do is quickly invest their money using the insider info they get from said hearings while we Vets get the shaft, just look at the news stories about John Kerry heavily investing in healthcare stocks after 0bamacare got passed, politicians do it all the time but there are loopholes in the laws for them that keep them from going to jail for it like us taxpaying peasants.

  10. Valerie says:

    Why not let the DOD “grow its own”?

    When State said they could not do their job in Iraq, DOD took over State’s function, in their own way, with their own staff. That worked.

  11. MSG Eric says:

    As I’ve said before and as told by a Doc at the VA myself after discovering many issues I had:

    Army medicine’s purpose is to put you back into the fight. VA Docs don’t have to worry about that.

    I think the issue will be that Veterans seeing active duty doctors might not get full attention to their long-term issues as well as with a VA Doc.

    However, as far as the bureaucracy, at the least for the military there is a chain of command. So if you’re getting screwed with you can go to the chain and they can provide support. Not so for veterans.

  12. CB Senior says:

    I wonder where the money will get cut in lean times. Papa needs a new fighter jet, doncha know.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Oh, fuck no… VA will drag down military healthcare like crack addict.

  14. Smaj says:

    Replace the DoD with the Soylent Corporation and VA bureaucrats will eagerly back a merger.

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