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  • Washington Highlights

    VA Provides Clinical Care Access Recommendations to AIR Commission


    Brad Cunningham, Sr. Regulatory Analyst, Graduate Medical Education
    Ki Stewart, Senior Policy and Regulatory Analyst

    On March 14, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released its Assets and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Report. The report centered around improving access to and quality of care for veterans by ensuring the VA’s clinical infrastructure reflects the needs of veterans, including utilizing existing partnerships with academic affiliates.

    The VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-182) required the VA to report on the capacity of nationwide health care facilities available to veterans through an asset and infrastructure review process. Volume I of the VA report provided the legislative history of the MISSION Act, an overview of the current VA health care system, and detailed the research methodologies for the report. Overall recommendations to the AIR Commission and legislative proposals were provided as well.

    Volume II gave the regional Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN) market recommendations for modernizing and realignment of individual VA health care facilities. The VA health care system is comprised of 18 regional VISNs, and each network received a report with tailored market recommendations. These market reports included an overview of the VA facilities within the VISN, information about the community provider capacity, and a market strategy to better serve veterans’ health care needs. VA facilities recommendations included suggestions for further leveraging the VA’s academic affiliation partners.

    The two-volume report will now undergo review by the AIR Commission, a bipartisan, presidentially appointed, and congressionally approved group tasked with assessing the VA’s recommendations. President Joe Biden announced his nominees to the AIR Commission on March 9. The commission will conduct public hearings as part of its review and then send a report to the president that includes an evaluation of the VA report and the commission’s recommendations by Jan. 31, 2023.