Washington, D.C./ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on April 17, 2024
VA Trust Soars Among Veterans as Enrollment Skyrockets Following healthcare ExpansionsSource: APK, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a sweeping show of increased confidence, nearly 92% of Veterans now trust the care they receive from the Department of Veterans Affairs, per a release from the agency. This marks an upswing from 85.6% back in 2018 when the VA started to keep scores through patient surveys. The department chalks up the trust bump to positive feedback from over 480,000 vetted Veterans who've recently tapped into the VA's services.

The survey asked Veterans to quickly evaluate their trust across various service categories, like setting up appointments and getting meds through the mail. They were expected to sound off on their experiences just one week after using VA facilities, which the department believes have shown tangible improvements. It's not just internal metrics tooting the VA's horn either. Independent studies, including Medicare's nationwide patient survey, have documented VA hospitals to consistently outperform non-VA counterparts — a stark contrast when it comes to patient satisfaction and quality of care.

In the past year, more than 400,000 Veterans have enrolled for VA health care - a 30% jump from the prior year's tally and the highest in at least the last five years. The VA sees this uptick as a direct result of a deeper trust chiseled over consecutive years. "We at VA work to earn the trust of Veterans every day, in every part of the country, every time they come to us for their care," VA Secretary Denis McDonough told the department's news outlet. McDonough underscored the importance of measuring Veteran trust, not just to pat themselves on the back, but to also identify and improve on areas where they may be falling short.

The VA is banking heavily on its recent PACT Act, which has been a game changer for the expansion of eligible health care and benefits to millions of Veterans. In a bold move, healthcare eligibility was broadened for millions of Veterans nationwide, far earlier than mandated by the PACT Act. This effectively green lights direct enrollment in VA healthcare for toxic-exposed Veterans, including those from the Vietnam War era, Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other combat zones post-9/11, as well as those stationed domestically. And it doesn't stop there — the VA promises to persistently reach out to Veterans right through 2024, with over 550 in-person events already stamped onto their calendar. VA Under Secretary for Health, Shereef Elnahal, M.D., said, "Delivering world-class health care begins with trust. Whenever a Veteran walks into a VA facility, we want them to know that we are going to take care of them."

The VA's strides echo a broader commitment to Veterans' well-being, emphasizing not just top-notch care but accessibility and awareness. Shedding the cloak of bureaucracy, the VA's proactive approach includes a comprehensive $16+ million ad campaign, leveraging both seasoned methods — like public service announcements — and, for the first time, directly texting Veterans to encourage healthcare enrollment. It appears that these are more than mere promises; they're practical steps already underway, setting new benchmarks for America's commitment to those who've donned the uniform. For more information on VA health care and the plethora of Veteran benefits now within easier reach, the administration urges Vets, their families, caregivers, and survivors to learn more and apply.