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Double Standards: Trump Administration, Congress must make standards for non-VA and VA providers equal


January 24, 2019

Lower Competency Qualifications of Clinicians Who Treat Veterans with PTSD in the Community Than in the VA


Contact: Brett Copeland

Washington, D.C. | January 24, 2019 – The Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute calls on the Trump Administration and Congress to ensure veterans have access to high quality health care, especially evidence-based PTSD care, when they are funneled into private sector providers under the VA MISSION Act in June.

Studies have shown that psychotherapists outside the VA are unlikely to have the skills necessary to treat PTSD,” said Russell Lemle, VHPI Senior Policy Analyst. “The VA MISSION Act was supposed to fix that problem. Right now, just months before the legislation is set to be implemented, there is no attempt to identify whether private providers treating PTSD meet the rigorous standards of the Veterans Health Administration.”

VHPI’s analysis, titled ‘Double Standards’, states the MISSION Act’s Community Care Network (CCN) will only be successful if the VHA establishes criteria that matches its own internal standards. High quality care also depends on whether Optum Public Sector Solutions, the recipient of a $55 billion contract to administer the MISSION Act’s Community Care Network, follows those rigorous standards.

“Optum will face incredible pressure to farm veterans out to the private sector,” said Brett Copeland, VHPI’s executive director. “Quicker access to care of inferior or unknown quality is a huge gamble with veteran’s lives, especially when it comes to PTSD,” said Copeland.  

VHPI strongly recommends the VHA “postpone implementation the MISSION Act until it can affirm that CCN PTSD providers – and frankly all providers – have demonstrated credentials, training and competence that is equal to VHA’s own high standards.”

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