VA Requests “Flexibility” From Congress To Overcome Budget Shortfall
Posted on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 9:13 AM
Last week, the U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on the state of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) budget amid reports that veterans are facing delays and denied services. NAHC has also been receiving reports that the VA has denied authorizations and renewal authorizations of home health and other services caused by funding shortages.
During the hearing, VA officials reported the agency has a $2.5 billion budget shortfall for the rest of the fiscal year due to increased demand for care and services and antiquated systems. The VA is asking Congress to provide flexibility to use funds from the Veterans Choice program to pay a network of non-VA providers to overcome this shortfall. However, Congress criticized the agency for its mismanagement of funds, and lack of transparency concerning cost overruns.
Home health services are funded through the non-VA budget with a $2.5 billion shortfall. According to information received by NAHC, veterans’ requests for community care increased by 44 percent in the last year. There will be 21-23 million community appointments in 2015, compared to 16.5 million in 2014.
NAHC has contacted the VA for more information to determine how it plans to ensure home health services are provided to veterans but the agency has not yet responded to NAHC’s inquiries.
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