Many (202 YR 2009) of the VA’s CBOCs are not staffed by VA employees but are employees of Healthcare Management Organization (HMO) type providers under contract with the VA. This may be more desirable in terms of efficiency and lower costs for taxpayers. For example, Humana purchased Valor Healthcare in 2012 to get into the business of veteran outpatient health care.
The ability to rapidly deploy a Veteran-centric facility while providing the absolute highest quality of care is a Humana’s Government Business hallmark. From the time of contract award, we can have a clinic opened, staffed and seeing patients within 90 days.
CBOCs (833 in FY 2010) are also closer to where many rural and urban veterans reside, a good thing. They can be VA-owned and staffed, VA-leased and staffed, or contracted and staffed by private contractors under contract.
In 2009, the break down was:
The above charts come from a Congressional Research Report. Are corporate cultures better than VA-culture in terms of quality care? Just depends.
For example, if you want to seen by a privately-contracted PCP in Puget Sound, “Valor HealthCare” operates three and Sterling Medical operates one.
Sterling Medical is hated by veterans at the Hibbing VA Clinic in Northern MN according to a story in the Star Tribune! And Minneapolis (VISN 23) does not disclosure on its website that Hibbing or any others are run by Sterling or any other clinics are managed by HMO. So it comes down to asking questions and doing some research about these clinics. Some non-VA clinics’ staff will be better than VA-owned or leased, others worse. But whoever is managing the clinics should be disclosed by every VA Health Care Network.