Perry Proposes Plan To Ease VA Medical Backlog

FORT HOOD (June 12, 2014) Texas Gov. Rick Perry Thursday announced efforts to identify Texas hospitals willing to take more patients out of backlogged VA facilities.

Perry made the announcement as he spoke at a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for the National Intrepid Center of Excellence Satellite Center at Fort Hood.

The Baylor Scott and White, CHRISTUS and University of North Texas systems, and hospitals operated by the University of Texas System have expressed interest in participating Perry said.

“These facilities would expand capacity across the state, including the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Central Texas, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Houston and Galveston,’ Perry’s office said in a press release.

“The state is continuing to reach out to other providers and the Texas Hospital Association to expand this potential network of facilities,” the office said.

Perry has written to asking Acting VA Director Sloan Gibson to propose that the Veterans Health Administration work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to allow providers to bill through the Medicare reimbursement system rather than through the VHA reimbursement process.

The VA would then repay Medicare directly, Perry said.

The state is also expanding its Texas Veterans Hotline with staffers who are trained to deal with the VA, Perry said.

"For the most urgent cases these staffers will connect veterans to the Texas Veterans Healthcare Strike Force these are individuals who work directly with the VA to help veterans get the care they need and they deserve," he said.

The hotline number is 1-800-252-VETS.

Also Thursday, Texas Veterans Commission officials said they’re looking at setting up "state strike force teams" that would help with delays in access to health care at VA facilities in the state.

The teams would be similar to ones set up in 2012 to deal with disability claims backlogs at VA facilities in the state.

Data show Texas VA facilities have some of the longest wait times for veterans trying to see a doctor for the first time.

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