As we continue to transform the VA and improve veterans’ health care, it is essential to understand that VA care is different from private sector care. It also is essential to understand—particularly given an environment of intense public scrutiny—that this fundamental distinction is embedded in the VA mission “to care for those who have borne the battle for their country.”
At the same time, it also is crucial to recognize that, although VA care is distinctly different from private sector care, our ongoing transformation means closer collaboration with the private sector—that is, for veterans seeking care from community providers. In this regard, we are working to achieve a tighter integration of the care offered to veterans in both sectors by working to develop a high-performance network that includes care from both VA and the private sector.15
Finally, in the midst of such a transformation, it is imperative to underscore that one factor will remain the same: our long-standing and unwavering commitment to provide patient-centric care and value to every veteran. As the under secretary for health, it is my great privilege to see this commitment daily and to better position the VA to serve our veterans and the nation.