Lawmaker looks outside VA to fill mental care gap
By KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press 12:20 a.m.Jan. 29, 2013
WASHINGTON — Veterans who have trouble getting timely mental health care from Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics should also have access to thousands of health care providers who care for military personnel and their families, says the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.
The proposal by Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., borrows from the playbook of Republican Mitt Romney, who raised the idea of tapping into the military's Tricare network of doctors during the course of the presidential campaign.
"We can double overnight the number of providers for those who are in need," Miller said in an interview. "Eighteen veterans a day commit suicide in this country. Nobody thinks that is acceptable."
The VA has beefed up its mental health staff over the years to try to keep up with the needs of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, but a critical inspector general's report last year found that about half of those seeking care for the first time waited about 50 days before getting a full evaluation. The VA had been reporting that the vast majority of those patients were getting care within 14 days.
unhappycamper comment: Jeff Miller, R-Naturally, must be a big proponent of outsourcing..... (Anyone who uses Mitt the Shit's playbook cannot be serious.)