According to the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), there are currently more than 9 million veterans enrolled in the Department of Veterans Administration’s (VA) healthcare programs.
That is a significant number by anyone’s standards. Yet that number also represents less than half of the U.S. Census Bureau’s estimate of more than 18.2 million veterans.
Even if we take into account ineligible veterans, that still leaves millions of veterans reliant on sources other than the VA for their healthcare. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to increase the number of veterans who are using VA healthcare.
1. Continuing to increase veteran access to virtual VA healthcare.
The VA has taken major strides toward providing more veterans with access to virtual healthcare services and appointments. The VHA’s 2021 Key Accomplishments report reveals that the organization provided more than 9.5 million virtual sessions to veterans in 2021. The report also discloses that this number represents an increase of 146% compared to 2020. In addition, the report declares that “40.2% of surveyed Veterans preferred video telehealth for their care.” All this information supports the idea that increasing the number of veterans who are using VA healthcare services will likely require further investments in and usage of virtual care options.
2. Pushing forward with efforts to make the VA more inclusive.
The veteran community is highly diverse. According to the VHA, about 27% of today’s veteran community is a part of a racial or ethnic minority, and they predict that this figure is set to increase to 39% by 2045. This diversity demands that the VA and VHA must become more inclusive and diverse in their own right if they want to help a greater portion of the veteran community. There have already been significant strides made toward increased inclusivity and diversity by these organizations. For example, the VHA formed an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) in 2021. According to the VHA, the ODEI will “educate and train our workforce on diversity, equity, and inclusion best practices to enhance cultural awareness, collaboration, innovation, and engagement to resolve complex issues and increase productivity.” Continuing to make strides toward greater inclusivity is one key way the VA can increase the number of veterans it is providing healthcare to.
3. Supporting ongoing VA initiatives in women’s health.
The Department of Labor reports that there were nearly 2 million female veterans in the U.S. in 2019. Yet the VHA reports providing healthcare services for about 550,000, slightly more than 25% of all female veterans in 2021. Clearly, there is an opportunity for the VA to provide more female veterans with healthcare. The VHA responded to this opportunity in 2021 by launching the Women’s Health Innovation and Staffing Enhancement initiative (WHISE). This initiative distributed $75 million to support positions for women’s healthcare professionals across its network of facilities. However, more steps need to be taken in this area if the VA wants to increase the number of female veterans it is serving.
Valor Healthcare is dedicated to helping the VA provide healthcare to more veterans
To provide more veterans with healthcare services, the VA will need to continue with and grow its partnerships with private healthcare organizations like Valor Healthcare.
Valor Healthcare was established in 2004 by an Army and Navy veteran, and we’re committed to providing exceptional care and a world-class patient experience for our nation’s heroes. We accomplish this by partnering with public and private medical clinics to bring high-quality healthcare to American veterans.
Partner with us to give your patients access to data-driven, 21st-century care.