There are many large healthcare systems in the U.S., and they include names like HCA Healthcare, Encompass Health and Ascension Health. However, there is one major healthcare system that many people overlook: the Veterans Healthcare Administration (VHA).
The VHA is the healthcare arm of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It operates 1,298 healthcare facilities. These facilities include 171 medical centers and 1,113 outpatient sites of care. This makes the VHA one of the largest integrated healthcare systems in the U.S.
In spite of this, there are still barriers for veterans receiving healthcare services from the VA.
The number one barrier that keeps veterans from receiving VA healthcare
According to the 2021 Wounded Warrior Project Annual Warrior Survey, the number one barrier that keeps veterans from receiving VA healthcare is …
They prefer to use another form of healthcare coverage.
This view was expressed by nearly 54% of the veterans who responded to the survey. This top view may be a result of some of the other barriers that appear in the survey immediately after this one. These include respondents who said that:
- Receiving VA healthcare was too much trouble or required too much red tape (28.8%).
- VHA locations were not conveniently located for them (20.9%).
- Appointments were not available when they needed them (19.4%).
What steps can be taken to help remove barriers for veterans receiving healthcare from the VA?
The VA and its private partners are constantly looking for ways to make accessing and receiving VA healthcare easier for veterans. There are a number of steps that can be taken toward this goal, including:
- Providing more virtual visits — COVID-19 led to a major increase in healthcare providers using virtual healthcare visits to assist their patients. The VHA is no exception. In 2021, the VHA provided virtual healthcare sessions to more than 2.3 million veterans, and it continues to improve and expand its capabilities to provide virtual healthcare for veterans. As a result, it may be easier for veterans to find an appointment for the healthcare services they need.
- Increasing use of community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) — CBOCs are operated by private, accredited partners of the VA. These facilities help the VA reach into communities where veterans are having difficulty accessing healthcare from a VA-run facility. An increase in the number of and use of CBOCs can benefit the VA and veterans alike by providing additional locations for veterans to receive healthcare and easing pressure on VHA facilities. These benefits and more are likely why the VHA referred more than 2.4 million veterans to CBOCs in 2021.
Valor Healthcare is committed to breaking down barriers to veteran healthcare
Valor Healthcare partners with public and private medical clinics to bring high-quality healthcare to American veterans. We work with many U.S. government agencies, including the VA, to provide a range of patient-centric healthcare services.
Our network of 50 CBOCs is committed to providing America’s veterans with the highest-quality care, and we’re proud to provide care for more than 150,000 veterans every year.
Ready to help us break down healthcare barriers for even more veterans? Partner with us to give more veterans access to data-driven, 21st-century care.