VA Requests “Flexibility” from Congress to Overcome $2.5 Billion Budget Shortfall amid Reports of Delayed and Denied Services
The U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee last week held a hearing on the state of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) budget, amid reports that veterans are facing delays and denied services. In recent days, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has received reports that the VA has denied authorizations and renewal authorizations of home health and other services due to funding shortages.
During the hearing, VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson said the agency has a $2.5 billion budget shortfall for the rest of the fiscal year. In explaining the shortfall, the agency cited increased demand for care and services as well as antiquated systems. In order to overcome the shortfall, the VA is asking Congress to provide flexibility to use funds from the Veterans Choice program to pay a network of non-VA providers.
Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) committed to working with the relevant Congressional committees in the coming weeks “to give VA the flexibility it is seeking to use a limited amount of Choice funds for non-VA care.” Miller further criticized the agency for its mismanagement and lack of transparency surrounding its cost overruns.
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