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The VA Mission Act: transforming healthcare for veterans

Local News

You’ve likely all heard the stories about wait times at Veterans Affairs facilities across the country. Historically, the VA has delivered care within the walls of their own facilities. Tomorrow, that changes with the Mission Act to help meet the growing demand of veterans in need of treatment. 

Dr. Brian Westlake with the Rochester VA Outpatient Clinic is calling it an expansion of services. He says the VA can’t do it all alone. 

“Delivering high-quality health care is all about being able to deliver comprehensive care,” says Westlake.

If a VA does not meet certain care conditions, if the drive and wait times are too great, or you reside in a state/territory where there is no VA, the Mission Act gives veterans a choice. 

Brent Cline, an Army Veteran & VA Worker, says “(Veterans) can choose to stay at the VA, or they can choose to use the community if they’re eligible for it.”

“There are just some things we’ve got to go to the community for; to have that opportunity will be a very nice option,” says Westlake. 

Navy veteran Raymond Lott has a variety of ailments he’s been getting VA treatment for since 1985. Tomorrow, he’s having a major operation, but not at the VA. 

“They’re sending me out to Highland Hospital to get my knee replaced. I’m getting my knee replaced tomorrow,” says Lott. 

While that procedure was coordinated prior to the Mission Act, Lott’s knee surgery is exactly the kind of care transference the new undertaking is all about. 

“Yeah, I like the Mission Act, I think it’s very good for us veterans,” adds Lott. 

It’s the combination of care and choice Westlake says equals progress. “It’s a blend…and that’s when we’ll really be at our best.”

There are a number of factors that come into play with the Mission Act, depending on disability rating, health coverage, community co-pays, and a host of others. To learn more, visit https://missionact.va.gov/, or contact your nearest VA representative at https://www.va.gov/

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