KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Rural Areas Often Overlooked For VA Nursing Home Funding, And The Agency Wants To Change That

The Department of Veterans Affairs now sets its priority list by looking at demographics and the need for beds, making it difficult for some rural areas to compete, but officials say they want to make it easier for them to get funding.

The Associated Press: VA Seeks To Funnel More Nursing Home Money To Rural Areas
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Monday during a visit to Montana that his agency will propose changes to make it easier for rural areas to receive funding to build nursing homes for veterans. Rural areas are often bypassed under the agency’s existing guidelines for awarding grants for veterans’ homes, Shulkin told reporters after touring VA facilities and meeting with veterans in Helena. (Volz, 8/21)

In other veterans' health care news —

Modern Healthcare: Veterans Choice Funding Strikes A Temporary Compromise 
Although the Veterans Choice program received a six-month reprieve thanks to new emergency funding, it will take more than an influx of cash for the program to thrive, according to veterans groups. As it currently runs, VA Choice has problems, according to veterans organizations and experts. Though the program was supposed to cut down on wait times for veterans seeking care, some still wait weeks for appointments and provider shortages are exacerbating the program's troubles. VA Choice keeps running low on money, and the VA's healthcare infrastructure is hurting. Meanwhile, the population of veterans is changing, growing smaller but also older and more spread out across the country. (Arndt, 8/18)

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