Meeting the Health Care Needs of America's Veterans: A Summary of Three RAND Assessments Conducted Under the Veterans Choice Act

The mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system is to meet the health needs of eligible U.S. veterans. In response to concerns about veterans' access to care and the quality of care delivered, Congress enacted the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 ("Veterans Choice Act"). The law called for a series of independent assessments of the VA health care system across a broad array of topics related to the delivery of health care services to veterans in VA-owned and VA-operated facilities, as well as those under contract to VA.

A team of RAND researchers conducted three of the Veterans Choice Act assessments. In this February 2016 congressional briefing, senior policy researcher Carrie Farmer discusses RAND's findings and recommendations including

  • the changing demographics and health needs of the veteran population
  • VA's capacity to deliver health care and how this might impact veterans' access
  • VA's current purchased care authorities and what policymakers should consider when examining changes to those authorities
  • steps policymakers can take to progress toward the goal of providing high-quality, timely, and accessible health care that meets veterans' needs.