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New Paper Shows How VA Privatization Threatens National Security

Today, the Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute (VHPI) published a new report focused on how VA privatization threatens America’s national security.

The paper is written by Ryan Leone, a medical student at Columbia University who is also a U.S. Army officer and former Presidential Management Fellow at the Department of Defense’s Defense Health Agency. He details an array of ways in which the VA supports the Pentagon, both through statutory and more abstract assistance. Leone shows, for instance, how the VA conducts research that is essential to helping DoD understand and treat military related-health problems. He also explains how the VA is primed to respond to disaster and combat situations.

In serving as the teaching hub for the nation’s healthcare workforce, the VA churns out clinicians who treat the nation’s veterans and service members. The department also holds strategic pharmacological and staff reserves.

The VA demonstrated it could quickly surge these resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over that sustained emergency, the VA provided 1.1 million pieces of PPE to state and local facilities, admitted 697 non-veteran patients to VA hospitals, and sent clinical personnel to 122 private hospitals, plus 980 clinical personnel to community nursing homes. By defunding VA facilities and sending veterans to the private sector, this critically important piece of our nation’s infrastructure for responding to wars, pandemics, and other disasters would be eliminated. That cannot happen.

VHPI is holding a Zoom forum to discuss this important topic on Monday, November 6 at 2 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PST. Leone will lead the panel alongside Regina Julian, the Deputy Assistant Director for Health Care Operations at the Defense Health Agency, and Dr. Harold Kudler, who served as the VA’s National Mental Health Policy Lead.

Please RSVP to the forum here.

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