Exclusive: U.S. Dept. Of Veterans Affairs Secretary Wilke Talks Mission Act

May 15, 2019

Sec. Robert Wilke
Credit Dept. of Defense

In an exclusive interview last week with WXPR, the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilke, said veterans and communities will soon see an improved care system for veterans.

On June 6, the MISSION Act will enable VA to consolidate the department’s community care efforts into a single, easier-to-use program giving veterans the ability to choose the health care providers they seek.

With wide bipartisan support and President Trump's signature, Wilke says the new law will help the VA provide better care...

"..That means the Dept. of Veterans Affairs will begin paying it's bills to community hospitals and small town doctors at medical clinics so that when our veterans choose to go into the private sector, that they will have physicians, hospitals, medical facilities willing and able to take them in because we are paying our bills..."

Wilke was interested in getting the word out about the Mission Act to this region, which he says is among the most rural spaces for veterans care and an area where veterans are likely to use private health care. He says this isn't a free card for veterans to use private health care...

"..The Mission Act is not libertarian VA. It is not me handing out a card that says veteran on it and have the veteran go off and prosper in the private sector. What is does say is if we can't provide services to that veteran, say he or she needs rheumatology and we can't provide that then that veteran has the option to wait for us to give it, or go out in the private sector...."

Wilke says a second part of Mission Act begins in October involving family caregivers of Vietnam-era veterans. He says it will open up financial support along with educational support. He says that has never been done before.

We have a link to the Mission Act here.

We will run a much longer interview with U.S. Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilke on WXPR Saturday Edition, heard at 8:35 Saturday morning on WXPR.

Secretary Wilke talks more about the Mission Act, how the entire VA has changed regarding prescription medications following the Tomah scandal and more. We will also have the interview at WXPR.org Saturday morning.