On this Veterans Day, we take time out to thank all the Veterans who have represented the United States of America courageously and wish we could do more for them. Most Veterans do have access to quality health insurance which is one thing the government can give back. Some would argue it’s not enough, but it’s a start and the Department of Veterans Affairs strives to increase the number of Veterans they can help on a continuous basis.
The Washington Post posted an interesting article by Sarah Kliff which highlights some of the facts part of the largest health care system in the nation operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. They have over 1400 hospitals nationwide working together to provide health care to millions. They employ about 15,000 doctors and 61,000 nurses and provide care for over 5 million veterans throughout the US. In 2010, they took in about $50 million in patient revenue, which is significantly higher than the nation’s second largest system bringing in only $30 million.
Unfortunately, one out of every ten veterans still are without health insurance. The Veterans Health Administration does not provide coverage for everyone based on eligibility requirements. Eligibility is determined by income, injuries sustained in combat, and how long they served. It is possible that health care reform will change how many Veterans are insured since many people will qualify for Medicaid or health insurance subsidies by 2014.
It’s interesting to know that the VA has pioneered electronic health records for the industry overall. It’s been a leader in digital health records for years and started sharing lab results back in the 1980′s. Multiple studies conclude that the VA’s digital upgrades have improved quality as well as productivity in the health care system. Many health care systems look to the VA for guidance and support as they make the switch to be more digital.
Veterans’ health care is more important than ever as approximately 730,000 of the 2.4 million men and women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan return home with a mental health condition. According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, about 30% of veterans have their mental health needs met through the health care system. This is an upsetting statistic as the VA works to provide help to these veterans. Many veterans refuse to seek out treatment for various reasons and some cannot find the care they need with the resources made available to them. Hopefully, through ongoing education and health care reform, veterans can have all of their health care needs met and get the attention they so deserve.
Written by Sam Tabes
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Tags: health care reform, health insurance access for veterans, veterans health care, veterans health insurance