Mar 02, 2016 / Defense/Veterans | Health Care | Technology

The call ends with no appointment

“The call ends where it started, with no appointment for Magnasco.” This is the description of a call placed by United States Army Veteran Dennis Magnasco trying to get an appointment at the VA.

On January 8, Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5) and Democrat Seth Moulton (MA-6) introduced the Faster Care for Veterans Act of 2016 (H.R. 4352) to empower veterans while giving VA employees more tools to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. Veterans continue to tell McMorris Rodgers that one of the biggest challenges they face at the VA is simply getting an appointment, as this clip shows:

This bipartisan bill requires the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to begin a pilot program incorporating commercially available self-scheduling technologies at VA medical facilities.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), a leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization, endorses this as “forward-thinking legislation to inject private sector innovation into the VA’s process for scheduling appointments for veterans,” said IAVA Chief Policy Officer Matt Miller. “This legislation is perfectly in sync with our goal of increasing access to quality health care in as timely a manner as possible.”

In a conversation with Sheila Hagar of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, McMorris Rodgers emphasized that “off-the-shelf software already meets appointment scheduling needs in medical offices everywhere, […] but unfortunately the VA has some bureaucratic systems in place that do not welcome innovative approaches that empower results within the agency.”

Earlier this year, McMorris Rodgers and Moulton spoke with Stars and Stripes Magazine about how their solution is more efficient and affordable than agency-proposed alternatives.