Navigating the VA Mission Act: Perspectives on Healthcare for the Patient and the Provider

Navigating the VA Mission Act

Veterans are often eligible to receive care from both their local VA health complex and community-based providers in the private sector, which has been a complex solution to offering improved health care to our nation’s veterans. 

Many questions still remain: How can the public and private sectors better collaborate? How can private providers participate in the new VA Mission Act? How can we improve care for veterans?  Will the VA Mission Act replace the VA Choice Program?

This conversation will be presented from the perspectives of private practice medical providers - for other providers to learn how to better serve the military/veteran population.  There will also be a representative from the VA Mission Act on hand to discuss the process for both patients and providers to easily navigate their way into and through improved choices for health care.

This session will take place in Room 3 inside the Business Expo at 10:00 am.




Michael McBride, MD, MS - Local Recovery Coordinator

McBride taught high school in Milwaukee before his education and training at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  He practiced child and adolescent psychiatry for ten years before 9-11, at which time he joined the US Army Reserves and volunteered for overseas deployment four times, twice to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and then to Baghdad serving in combat stress control clinics at Camp Victory and Camp Liberty.  Wanting to serve Marines he joined the US Navy Medical Corps and deployed to the Combat Trauma Hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Between deployments, he moved his practice to the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center where he is the Local Recovery Coordinator. 

Steven Heiges, M.Ed., PMP, MHP, CPS
Captain John D. Mason Veteran Peer Outreach Program - Medical College of Wisconsin

Steve is a veteran of 26 years having served as a combat engineer, and completing multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2010. He has worked in operations, change management, logistics, and leadership.  Currently, Steve is a Veteran Peer Specialist at the Medical College of Wisconsin.


 Aruna Tummala, MD, is a board-certified adult and geriatric psychiatrist and founder of Trinergy Center for Integrative Psychiatry in New Berlin, WI.

Dr. Tummala is also board certified in Integrative and Holistic Medicine (by Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine: and is pursuing further education in both Functional Medicine and Ayurveda, the oldest medical system in the world.

Inspired by the realization that conventional psychiatry has become a linear, medication-dependent, symptoms-based model with little to offer the millions of people struggling with mental illness, Dr. Tummala turned to Integrative Psychiatry, fully embracing its patient-centered, collaborative care approach. Unlike conventional psychiatry, Integrative Psychiatry attempts to find the root cause of a person’s problems and work towards achieving overall mental health and balance.