Hearing: VA Had Authority To Send Vets To Outside Care, But Didn't

By  KJZZ News
June 18, 2014

The House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs is holding a meeting to discuss using non-VA care for veterans. Officials say the department has had the authority to send veterans to private health care providers for years.

Committee Chairman Jeff Miller says utilizing this resource is essential for serving veterans.

“Providing our veterans with timely, accessible and high-quality care, regardless of whether or not it is provided in a VA medical facility or in a private sector provider, should be the VA’s ultimate goal," Miller said.

Miller says the VA allowed 121,000 veterans to remain on waiting lists instead of utilizing non-VA care for patients.

“Faced with this crisis, the simple fact of life is that giving access to non-VA care is quicker than hiring new VA staff and building new VA facilities”

Officials say at least 35 Phoenix-area veterans have died while awaiting VA care.