UCAOA Positioning Itself in VA Healthcare Discussions
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The U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs (VA) Committee held a hearing on May 24, 2016, to discuss legislative proposals to modernize the Veteran Health Administration.

In conjunction with the hearing, UCAOA submitted a statement offering that urgent care centers are well-positioned to meet the acute health care needs of U.S. Veterans.

UCAOA is working to position itself in the debate over how to relieve VA health system pressures and generate cost savings to the system. The VA is not authorized to reimburse Veterans for urgent care at this time. UCAOA is appealing to Congressional lawmakers to change this policy.

According to the VA, in Fiscal Year 2014, approximately 30 percent of the 2.9 million emergency treatment claims filed with VA were denied, amounting to $2.6 billion in billed charges that were the responsibility of the Veteran beneficiaries themselves, or their other health care coverage if applicable. What the VAs finding suggests is that veterans in need of urgent care and who may not be able to access a primary care physician or VA facility in a timely manner are seeking care in the emergency department, many times finding themselves responsible for the cost of that care.

The House VA Committee is expected to begin debate on VA health system reform soon. While passage of comprehensive legislation to reform the VA health system remains unlikely this year UCAOA will continue to work with Congress as they lay the groundwork for these reforms.  

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