Here’s a better way to care for veterans

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By Dan Laurent

You can’t help but be impressed by Charlotte’s shiny new VA clinic. I came away impressed but also wondering if we really need a completely separate nationwide network of VA hospitals and clinics to deliver care to veterans.

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ budget is $182.3 billion this year. Because of the way the data are arrayed on the VA website, it is virtually impossible to determine what portion of that goes toward the maintenance of the nationwide network of hundreds of medical centers and clinics such as the new one in Charlotte vs. providing actual care to veterans.

It would be safe to assume that these hundreds of facilities were not only expensive to build and equip but continue to be expensive to staff and maintain. In North Carolina alone there are four VA medical centers, seven outpatient clinics and 16 community-based outpatient clinics.

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