Since the 2014 waitlist crisis first entered the public consciousness, working people at the VA have been under intense scrutiny, and have been the scapegoats for bad management, understaffing, and underfunding at the country’s best health care system.
But did you know the VA is the best health care option in the country for veterans? And that veterans overwhelmingly want it? Or that the VA offers much more than health care to those who have borne the battle?
Did you also know that?
That’s right, since 1977, doctors and researchers at the VA have been bestowed the Nobel Prize three separate times for outstanding discoveries in the fields of life sciences and medicine. Not only that, but seven working people at the VA have been honored to receive the Lasker Award for major contributions to medical science.
The VFW study from this year shows a growing trend, after a 2015 study by VoteVets found that 80 percent of veterans did not want to go outside the VA for their care. The VA is working, and those that use it most know!
Veterans returning from combat have a unique set of needs not generally seen in the private sector, including spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder. By serving the largest patient population of these ailments at the VA, doctors and researchers can deliver care the private, for-profit industry just isn’t capable of.
Just like with the body, the mind of a veteran needs specialized care. And that comes from being seen by the working people at the VA – one third of whom are veterans themselves. According to the RAND Corporation, 87 percent of surveyed civilian providers of mental health care are not prepared to treat veterans.
The VA is much more than just a health care system. Veterans can come to the VA for homelessness assistance, job training, home buying assistance, drug rehabilitation and much more.
So now you know. With its vast network of 160+ medical centers and 1,000+ community-based outpatient clinics across the country, the VA offers its 5.8 million veteran patients the best health care our nation has to offer.
The VA consistently outperforms the private sector across an array of metrics in mental and physical health care. They pioneered the first liver transplant, invented the cardiac pacemaker, developed the nicotine patch, and engineered bionic ankle-foot prosthesis, among countless other innovations. It is also the only nationwide health care provider with fully-integrated electronic records, meaning veterans can seamlessly access care everywhere from Atlanta, Georgia to Anchorage, Alaska.