Pappas talks with VA community about veterans healthcare
LACONIA — First District Congressman Chris Pappas met with VA community care providers on Thursday and heard about the hurdles veterans and their care providers face, in their efforts to give and receive effective medical treatment.
When veterans need health care that the VA cannot provide, they can obtain services through community care providers. Gate of Life Acupuncture and Wellness in Laconia contacted Pappas’ office because they said they were not receiving payments from the VA in a timely manner for treating veterans for a variety of health issues.
Kathy Twombly, the acupuncture practitioner and massage therapist who runs the Main Street business, said the stalled payments were not only creating a financial hardship, but that billing system obstacles were interrupting the care veterans needed.
“It took three months to get the first payment and represents thousands of dollars,” Twombly said.
Once veterans get a referral for acupuncture, they are allowed 12 visits within 45 days, then eight visits within 83 days and then eight more over 173 days.
Gretchen Brown, who handles the billing for Twombly and a number of other acupuncture practitioners, told Pappas the claims processing software called Electronic Claims Adjudication Management System (eCAMS) that the VA chose to modernize the processing of claims received from community providers outside of the VA’s Community Care Network doesn’t work.
Among the problems, she said, is the date when the specific number of visits is approved keeps changing without rhyme or reason, often resulting in a practitioner treating a patient and being unable to get paid. She also faulted the referral process for taking too long.
Pappas, who is chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has written a letter to Richard Stone, the Executive in Charge of the Veterans Health Administration, calling attention to the problems and requesting answers to questions about the outstanding claims.
Read the full story at www.unionleader.com.