SEARCH BLOG: HEALTH CARE
UPDATE 3-12-07... Looks like Bo Dietl agrees with this based on his statements today on the Don Imus show.Last week I wrote that the situation at Walter Reed army hospital was not necessarily an isolated instance with the problem of government provided, as opposed to funded, health care.
I know that it is dangerous making generalizations and I got a couple of comments from readers who defended the Veterans Administration system as one of the best in the U.S. My own experience of my father's involvement with the VA processes was one of frustration. The VA is simply not budgeted or designed to handle the mixture of minor to major or short term to long term care that those veterans seeking help require.
My experience was that the doctors and nurses were really trying to do the best they could, but they were as much trapped in the processes and bureaucracy as the patients. This is where generalizations can be dangerous. There are some fine facilities and great working alliances with university hospitals and medical schools. Once you are dangerously ill, you will receive attention as prompt and professional as any other medical system. The problem seems to be with any other condition.
Today, the Detroit News had an article on this subject that simply reinforces my perception.
Last week I wrote this and believe the VA should have this process:
I have argued on other discussion forums that the VA could be improved by providing eligible veterans with a "VA Health Card" that allowed them to seek treatment from any available hospital, clinic, or family doctor for minor or emergency needs. If longer term care is needed, the veteran would receive that at a VA facility if it is within a reasonable distance (to be defined) or continue receiving treatment locally.The problem continues to be that VA health care is budget based rather than demand based. Private sector health care systems compete for patients by improving their systems to raise demand. They are limited by the constraints of insurance coverage and the requirement to provide emergency care for those without insurance. Bad systems eventually fail and get replaced by better ones.
This would accomplish two things:
- Provide quicker care for the veteran while reducing the workload at the VA for short term care
- Ensure the veteran receives long term care for chronic problems while focusing VA resources toward ensuring long term care is available.
With government-provided health care, you get what the government decides is appropriate in the manner it decides is appropriate.