SOURCE: Paralyzed Veterans of America

Paralyzed Veterans of America

July 06, 2016 19:45 ET

Paralyzed Veterans of America Urges Cautious Consideration of Commission on Care Report

Recommendations for Veterans Choice and Reform Are Expensive and Do Not Fully Address Specialized Services

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - July 06, 2016) - Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) today reacted to the Commission on Care report that offers a wide-ranging discussion on the delivery of veteran health care. The proposal somewhat mirrors the community care consolidation plan developed by the VA and the recommendations of The Independent Budget, which is co-authored by Paralyzed Veterans, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). However, despite affirmation of the importance of VA's specialized services, such as spinal cord injury and disease care, the report does not consider the consequences of incentivizing more veterans to seek care in the community. Paralyzed Veterans cautions policymakers on the one-size-fits-all approach of the proposal.

"While we accept the benefit of integrated health care networks to improve access to health care for veterans, the proposal puts the emphasis on veterans choice for services without fully contemplating the impact that expanded choice will have on the existing VA health care system, particularly specialized services such as spinal cord injury and disease care," said Executive Director Sherman Gillums, Jr. "Paralyzed Veterans of America members depend on this system of care for survival and the consequences of larger health care access decisions must be considered in the context of that system.

"Additionally, the proposed governance board would simply replace one politically-appointed bureaucratic layer with multiple politically-appointed and partisan driven leaders. Perhaps most glaring is the judgment the report makes on unfettered choice for care in the community. The Commission report demonstrates that universal choice for health care options comes with a terrifically high price tag."

The 300-page report contains 18 recommendations overall, including discussion about Information Technology reform, personnel management, and supply chain operations, most of which Paralyzed Veterans guardedly supports. The report also emphasizes that many of these reforms come at a significant cost as well. Similarly, it will take significant time to affect the wide ranging reforms proposed in the report.

"As Congress considers the reforms recommended by the Commission, we must emphasize that those decisions will have the greatest impact not on those veterans seeking care in the community, but those who rely upon the existing VA health care system for most or all of their care-service-connected veterans, catastrophically disabled, and the indigent," concluded Gillums. "Paralyzed Veterans urges policymakers to consider the impact on these veterans."

About Paralyzed Veterans of America:

Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.

As a partner for life, Paralyzed Veterans also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation and advocates for veterans and all people with disabilities. With more than 70 offices and 34 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. (

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