VA Statute re: Veteran's Choice

Posted By: Kevin Matthews on June 3, 2012

Before I posted my concerns to the List regarding V
Hello again all, Before I posted my concerns to the List regarding Veteran's choice, I called Joe Miller, Phd., CP, Veterans Administration, National Director of O&P Services, Washington,DC.    He was out, but returned my call first thing the next morning, after my post (he was not aware of it).  I have known Joe for thirty years.  We're not friends, per say, but I have followed his remarkable career.  I went through Basic Training and 42C, Orthotic Specialist Training in '82 in the Army with him.  I would like to say he seems to be an honest and thoughtful person.  I was truly impressed by his candor.  He said the VA is in the process of working this all out, with input from multiple directions.  I emphasized my concerns with the ambiguity of the VA policy regarding choice.  Rather than paraphrase my conversation, I would like to share the following response from an informed veteran and practitioner, one of our best, Mr. KM Heide.  I hope he doesn't
mind my including his name.  He is, I believe, 100% correct.  His reply:    "There is no language, requirement, or federal statute that give the Veteran a choice to go anywhere outside the VA for medical care. You and I as veterans, signed a contract with the government and that care will be supplied by the government. However, if the VA does not offer a particular service, the VA can send you to a provider of their choosing for that particular service the veteran may need. I would suggest that you contact Joe Miller, Veterans Administration, National Director of O&P Services, Washington,DC for clarification. Many veterans think they can go anywhere they determine is necessary for medical care, not realizing the contract signed is between the govenment and the service veteran, giving the government final determination. I know this well as a Reagan Marine, I have a co-pay, I am not service connected disabled, and read my entire government contract. Hope this helps. Semper Fidelis!"  KMHeide  ************** Our organizations are have been working on a positive outcome for our veterans and our profession.  Today my company joined the NAAOP.  I encourage all to do likewise.  Go to their site and see all they have done and are doing for our profession.     As a taxpayer I understand the desire to save money.  I also understand that as the payer, the VA should be able to use qualified employees and to hire as many as needed to serve their population.  If it saves money and our Vets receive the care they need, why not.  I feel considerations should be made for existing relationships or perhaps for specialized care...   In this politically charged period in our history we question many things.  Smaller government means using civilian companies and negotiating prices, bigger government means hiring their own practitioners, which they feel they saves money, as they are nonprofit.  Are we, in fact, saving money.  I would argue not.  It gets deeper than I'm willing to go from here, but I hope finally a ruling will be made to eliminate the ambiguity and misinformation.  Individual VA organizations have different policies.  Shouldn't there be a national SOP, or protocol?    Again thanks to all and to Paul for this forum.  Kevin C. Matthews, CO/LO Advanced Orthopedic Designs 12315 Judson Rd. #206 San Antonio, Texas 78233 210-657-8100 210-657-8105 fax [E-mail Address Removed]

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