Private Hospitals Could Take Some Pressure Off VA

CBS DC

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s decision to allow more veterans to get care at private hospitals could take some pressure off backlogged Veterans Affairs facilities struggling to cope with new patients from the wars on terrorism as well as old soldiers from prior conflicts.

Agreeing to recommendations from lawmakers, the administration said Saturday it will allow more veterans to obtain treatment at private hospitals and clinics in an effort to improve care.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki also said VA facilities are enhancing capacity of their clinics so veterans can get care sooner. In cases where officials cannot expand capacity at VA centers, the Department of Veterans Affairs is « increasing the care we acquire in the community through non-VA care, » Shinseki said.

Lawmakers from both parties have pressed for this policy change as the VA confronts allegations about treatment delays and falsified records at VA centers nationwide.

The department’s inspector…

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