CHELSEA – Many Maine hospitals are waiting for payment from the U.S. Veterans Administration
Those hospitals are owed millions of dollars by the federal agency. Monday morning, administrators from the V.A., the hospitals, and the insurance provider met with one of Maine’s congressional representatives trying to find a solution.
“It’s time to get those checks in the mail. In an effort to make it easier for veterans to receive medical treatment, the Department of Veterans Affairs allows vets to get treatment at hospitals or clinics closer to their homes,” said Representative Bruce Poliquin. “However, we need to make sure these rural hospitals that contract for the V.A. that provide services to these veterans get paid,” he said on Monday morning before the meeting.
In 2015, According to Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems Vice President Lisa Harvey-Mcpherson, the V.A. owed hospitals under the Eastern Maine Healthcare umbrella $12 million. “We’ve resolved that payment debt. That amount of money is down to $1 million for services provided many, many years ago. But yet, once we clear up one challenge we find ourselves dealing with,” she said.
Representative Poliquin said, it’s the size of the V.A. bureucracy causing the delays. “It’s getting better. And, their I.T. systems don’t connect., they don’t talk to each other,” Poliquin said.
And, one veterans advocate said, the focus needs to be on providing services to those who provided service to the country. “These hospitals will provide the services, if they cetpaid for those services,” said Shawn Goodwin, Maine Veterans Project founder.
Poliquin said, he wanted to see the V.A. improve its’ response time in turning around payment checks after being billed for healthcare services.