VA Secretary Previews Results from Nationwide Study of Veterans' Health Care

At a March 10 webinar hosted by the RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis R. McDonough shared findings and recommendations from a nationwide study by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to inform investments in VA health care—including upgrades to ensure that veterans receive the highest possible quality of care at VA facilities. The webinar provided a first look at the study's results before its March 14 release.

McDonough opened by providing background on the study and highlighting areas in which VA needs to evolve to ensure that veterans can access high-quality care no matter where they live. He also described the need to ramp up services for the growing population of women veterans, particularly as they age. The study examined VA's 95 health care market areas, generating a mix of solutions to better meet veterans' needs—including constructing new health care facilities, modernizing existing facilities, and closing facilities in certain markets. However, McDonough clarified that the overall focus is on modernization, not closure.

Rajeev Ramchand, who codirects the RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute with Carrie Farmer, welcomed the approximately 700 attendees. RAND's president and CEO Michael Rich introduced McDonough, and Farmer provided closing remarks. She noted areas in which RAND research aligned with McDonough's characterization of the study's findings, such as on demographic trends and geographic shifts in demand for VA care.

Watch a video of the event