Tuesday, June 30, 2015

VA Provider Agreements Mentioned During Recent House VA Committee Hearing

Dana Halvorson

Last week Thursday, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing entitled the State of VA’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget. During this hearing, the Honorable Sloan Gibson, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (pictured left), included in his testimony mention of VA provider agreements and the Administration’s proposal it sent to Capitol Hill on the issue this Spring. Specifically, the Deputy Secretary noted that the proposal, “would make critical improvements to the Department’s authorities to use provider agreements for the purchase of VA community medical care—in order to streamline and speed the business process for purchasing care for Veterans when necessary care cannot be purchased through existing contracts or sharing agreements. This proposal would ensure that VA is able to provide local care to Veterans in a timely and responsible manner, while including explicit protections for procurement integrity, provider qualifications, and price reasonableness.”

As you know, AHCA has been working with the Hill and the Department of Veterans Affairs for the past several years to try to ensure that those who courageously served our country have access to extended care services through VA provider agreements. Providers currently face burdensome regulatory challenges when administering care to thousands of veterans due to onerous regulations surrounding federal contractor status. It is long-standing policy that Medicare and Medicaid providers are not considered federal contractors. However, providers that serve VA patients under a VA contract are considered federal contractors.

AHCA currently continues to work very closely with our Congressional champions on this issue, and will keep its members apprised of any updates pertaining to it. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact AHCA’s Senior Director of Not for Profit & Constituent Services, Dana Halvorson.

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