Program expands access for veterans seeking private medical care

VA launches new healthcare options for veterans

All programs focus on non-VA health care opportunities for Veterans, with provisions allowing coverage for community providers.

It's my priority as the Ranking Member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to oversee the VA's implementation of this new law. They worry that the department is not fully prepared to begin its new policy, which Congress adopted previous year to streamline and expand the way veterans get care.

"President Trump promised to give veterans greater choice", VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a written statement.

The Phoenix VA launched a new federal program created to improve veterans' access to health care Thursday, one year after President Donald Trump signed it into law and on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Normandy landings. Lebanon VA Medical Center has an emergency room open 24/7 and all primary care and mental health clinics offer same day service either at the Lebanon VAMC or the five community clinic locations.

The goal of the VA MISSION Act is to strengthen the VA's ability to recruit and retain doctors; expand tele-health options across state lines; and increase access to community care for veterans.

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Provider and veterans groups hope the program will roll out without major glitches, unlike when the VA hastily launched the Veterans Choice program in 2014.

Rules established under the VA mission law say the VA will pay for veterans to see non-VA doctors if they have to wait longer than 20 days or dive more than 30 minutes for primary or mental healthcare at a VA facility. For specialty care, the VA will pay for private doctors if vets must wait for more than 28 days or drive more than an hour to see a VA doctor.

A Veteran needs a service not available at any VA medical facility.

"We are honored to reaffirm our commitment to America's veterans", said VA Medical Center Director Kathy Berger, Chillicothe VA Medical Center. That would encourage more providers to participate in the VA's community care networks.

The VA's new Community Care Program includes implementing new portions of the MISSION Act of 2018, which stands for Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks.


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