V.A. Secretary: ‘Not an Immediate Decision to Make’ on Increasing Restrictions on Vets Seeing Private Doctors

On Wednesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “The Lead,” V.A. Secretary Denis McDonough stated that there isn’t “an immediate decision” to make on whether the department will impose greater restrictions on the ability of veterans to see private doctors.

Host Jake Tapper asked, “President Trump signed the V.A. Mission Act in 2018, that expanded the V.A. Choice Act that President Obama signed, it allows more veterans to see private doctors instead of going through the V.A. health system. A big question facing you right now, do you plan to keep the standards implemented under President Trump, or are you going to impose more restrictions?”

McDonough responded, “That’s a good question, Jake. There’s not an immediate decision to make about the standards question. The thing I’m focused on is, the law dictates that best medical outcome for the veteran dictate whether and where that veteran be allowed to get care. So, we’re going to make sure that we are driven by that, best medical outcome for our vets, first and foremost. And then we’re going to make sure that we make decisions such that we not only get that best medical outcome, but that we also maintain the integrity and the strength of the V.A. system. It’s the only integrated healthcare system in the country. It provides a full slate of services for our veterans, including — I know we’ll talk about this — critical mental healthcare. And we’re going to continue to do that, Jake. So, that means that we have to make investments in the system going forward, and that will be a priority for us.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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