The agencies that oversee the health of U.S. military personnel and veterans were pushing ahead this spring with the biggest overhaul of their health systems in three decades. The initiatives aimed to shift up to 15 million patients to private care providers, shutter clinics and hospitals, and reduce the number of military doctors and nurses.
The Army, Navy and Air Force, along with the Defense Health Agency, had begun shedding patients and providers under reforms set into motion in 2017 under the National Defense Authorization Act. Veterans Affairs was due to send scores of veterans to neighborhood doctors and hospitals instead of VA facilities, also under legislation passed more than a year ago.
Supporters of the change called it good for patients — because they’d gain access to improved care — and for the government — because it would save millions of dollars by eliminating redundant services.
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