PHOENIX, Ariz.–As Veterans Day approaches, Navy Veteran and Phoenix Veterans Affairs (VA) whistleblower, Paula Pedene, is sharing new concerns about VA hiding information about the MISSION Act and veterans’ rights to community care under the law.
After the VA wait-time scandal rocked the nation, Pedene worked tirelessly as the VA Communications Team Lead for implementing the VA MISSION Act in 2019.
The Act allowed veterans to get private sector care if the wait times at VA medical centers exceeded 20 days for primary care or 28 days for specialty care.
“Unfortunately, the VA is hiding information our veterans need to know,” says Pedene explaining, “The VA recently started redirecting www.MISSIONAct.va.gov to another website called Choose VA. No records appear when one lands on this page and types the words “MISSION Act” into the search bar.
Pedene believes that by stripping the VA website of MISSION Act resources, the VA is confusing veterans’ about their rights to access community care. She laments, “While community medical care for veterans exists, the VA is failing to proactively inform veterans about when their rights to community medical care kick in and how to access it.”
Pedene is calling on the VA to improve its communication methods for our nation’s veterans by reinstating the VA MISSION Act website missionact.va.gov so that veterans and stakeholders will have a centralized hub to understand their rights under the Act.
Pedene is the author of the award-winning book A Sacred Duty Skyrocket Press, ww.amazon.com, about how faith, perseverance, and grit were able to help her win her Whistleblower Case against the Phoenix Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System. The book has won two national awards, the Grand Prize Winner during the 2018 Book Pipeline competition and the Grand Prize from the 2021 Skyrocket Press competition, which led to its publication.
“As we pause on Veterans Day to reflect on the sacrifice our nation’s veterans make for our country, we cannot lose sight of the need to improve VA health care too. Veterans who use VA health care are entitled to timely, quality medical care at VA Medical Centers and in the community,” says Pedene. She adds, “My story is one that I hope will inspire others to maintain the focus on doing what’s right for those who have served our country.”