The Department of Veterans’ Affairs was created in 1988 as an agency that would manage veterans’ hospitals and care for them whenever they’d need it. Nowadays, it is a huge, Byzantine, incompetent bureaucracy that does not execute its role and it cannot be relied upon.
Last week, on Friday, the father of Larrey Anderson (AT’s Submissions Editor) suffered a heart attack. He (the father) was brought to his nearest VA hospital, but that hospital is closed on Fridays. This means that the father – a veteran of the USMC – could not rely on his nearest VA hospital when he needed it.
So Mr Anderson’s father was rushed to a civilian, privately-owned, privately-managed hospital, which accepted him immediately and patched him up. Thus, a private sector hospital did what the VA hospital was supposed to do, but didn’t – treat the veteran who needed it.
This story shows why the DVA needs to be radically reformed, and why VA hospitals should be privatized. The DVA should not own or manage any hospitals – it should only reimburse private-sector hospitals. Veterans should be allowed to choose which hospital should treat them.