We need to make the VA a part of a truly national health care system that puts patients ahead of bureaucrats by sending patients to the nearest medical facility that can see them immediately. The civil service system and a lack of enough medical training facilities to train more doctors and medical personnel to meet the increasing demand needs attention. Congress must address both an entrenched civil service bureaucracy and a lack of enough doctors, nurses, medical technicians, EMTs, and medical equipment needed in rural areas.
We can further reduce both redundancy and bureaucracy by reducing the number of medical plans to just one: An enhanced Medicaid for all that would cover all medical, surgical, mental, dental and vision needs.
We need to find ways to seal off and preserve, in ready-to-use condition, auxiliary hospital rooms and surgical facilities for emergencies that could overwhelm existing facilities that may be operating at near full capacity already.
We may need a medical service corps that would allow medical students to trade time in medical service for free education.
DAVID A. SHEPHARD