Report on VA calls for sweeping reform

A new report recommends major changes to the Department of Veteran Affairs, including giving veterans access to private physicians.

The Commission on Care sent the nearly 300-page report to the White House Tuesday. It listed a total of 18 recommendations to reform the department.

The panel was created by Congress in 2014, after a major scandal within the VA revealed Veterans were waiting years to receive medical care.

The commission found "profound deficiencies" within the agency.

One recommendation suggests the agency create a new Veterans Health Administration Care System or VHA. It would create a series of providers accessible through VA hospitals, federally funded providers and private physicians.

It also recommends appointing an 11 member board to manage the system.

The commission estimates it would take $85 billion to fund the new system. The 2017 budget medical care within the agency is $66 billion.

Ron Holmes, and advocate for Veterans, tells KFOX14 he is optimistic.

"I'm hopeful that (Congress) is actually going to do something about it now, and not just leave it to the next commission or the next Congress to come up with a bunch of new ideas," Holmes said.

Holmes is well aware of the problems within the VA.

He said he has met veterans who have waited years to see a doctor, and said some veterans haven't been given access to medical care.

"Right now, you kind of get caught up in a maze where you're going to the doctors and nobody really does anything," he said.

Holmes said he wasn't sure Congress would approve the budget for the changes.

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