CHRISTUS Health Joins Efforts in Texas to Address VA Backlog June 13, 2014

Texas Governor Rick Perry today announced an agreement by health care providers in Texas, including CHRISTUS Health, to allow veterans who have had difficulty accessing care to use their benefits for treatment at participating hospitals. The governor also proposed that this treatment be paid for through Medicare reimbursement so providers are paid more quickly.

Consistent with CHRISTUS Health’s efforts to “put care within reach” of all Americans, this agreement is just another way the system is encouraging policymakers to consider how non-VA health care providers can be part of the solution to ensure that veterans receive timely care.

At this point, the groups have agreed only in principle; no specific guidelines or parameters have been set. Federal authorities, including the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must approve any alternate plans once they are finalized. However, ensuring that veterans have access to timely medical care is neither a state nor federal issue, but one that concerns us all.

The groups have also agreed to work to identify ways to cut down on any backlog of unpaid VA claims and streamline payment for veterans’ care.

Other systems participating include Baylor Scott and White, the University of North Texas Health System, and hospitals operated by the University of Texas system. The state is continuing to reach out to other providers and the Texas Hospital Association to expand the potential network.

On Wednesday, the Senate passed legislation aimed at increasing veterans’ access to health care that is similar to a bill passed by the House. Both sides anticipate that a final bill can be reached quickly and believe they will have a bill on the president’s desk by the end of the month.

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