“In just a short time, we’ve already achieved transformative change at the VA—and believe me, we’re just getting started.”—President Donald J. Trump
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Washington DC, GIVING VETERANS A CHOICE: President Donald J. Trump is giving veterans a choice in the healthcare they receive so they can receive the right care, at the right time, from the right provider.
President Trump signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017 to authorize $2.1 billion in additional funds for the Veterans Choice Program (VCP).
Veterans become eligible for care under the VCP if they live more than 40 miles from the closest eligible VA medical facility, wait times are over 30 days from the clinically indicated date, or they meet other special criteria.
The VCP has improved veterans’ access to care, and since its inception has resulted in more than 21.6 million appointments, serving over 1.8 million unique veterans.
This new funding will ensure VCP-eligible veterans continue to receive care in their communities from providers they trust.
While initially created as a temporary program in 2014, VCP has proven to be a valuable addition to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system.
The Act empowers the VA to hire the very best people at competitive rates for senior positions so our veterans receive the best care possible.
The Act expands the VA’s direct-hiring authority, which will increase the speed at which the VA can onboard qualified people for VA jobs.
The Act authorizes 28 major medical facility leases, including some that have been on hold for over three years.
PUTTING VETERAN CARE FIRST: President Trump is making veteran healthcare a priority of his Administration and has moved quickly to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system.
The Administration has implemented a new White House VA hotline, staffed principally by veterans, to help veterans.
Under President Trump, the VA fired 677 employees, suspended 238, and demoted 32, as part of the President’s effort to restore integrity and accountability to a department charged with supporting our Nation’s heroes.
The VA is the first agency to post information on employee disciplinary action online.
President Trump signed the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, improving senior VA officials’ ability to fire failing employees while establishing important safeguards to protect whistleblowers.
The VA is beginning the process of adopting the same electronic health records as the Department of Defense.
The VA has acted to increase transparency and accountability by launching an online “Access and Quality Tool” to provide veterans a way to access wait time and quality of care data.
Wait times are now posted online for each of the 168 medical centers managed by the VA.
The VA plans to dispose of 430 vacant buildings in the next 24 months, and is reviewing another 784 underutilized buildings.