Tuesday, 18 June, 2019

VA finalizes Community Care rule as stakeholders watch warily

New VA rules allow more veterans to see private doctors, urgent care Starting today, vets get access to urgent care, expanded access to medical care under new law
Anna Jefferson | 08 June, 2019, 18:32

Starting Thursday, more US veterans will be able to start seeing private doctors - as part of a new law born out of scandal five years ago when some vets died because they couldn't get appointments at VA centers.

"The implementation of the bipartisan VA MISSION Act's community care program will take place on June 6, 2019".

The MISSION Act will strengthen the nationwide VA Health Care System by empowering veterans to have more options in their health care decisions.

Congressman Jack Bergman, Ranking Member on the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, issued a release Wednesday about a new VA act. Under the new and improved Veterans Community Care Program, Veterans can work with their VA health care provider or other VA staff to see if community care may be appropriate for them.

Butler VA Director John Lasell says help is available to determine if vets are eligible to participate in the program.

"The changes not only improve our ability to provide the health care Veterans need, but also when and where they need it", said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

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Lebanon VAMC is one of 170 medical centers in the nation with the sole goal of providing world-class medical care to America's Veterans. "It will also put Veterans at the center of their care and offer options, including expanded telehealth and urgent care, so they can find the balance in the system that is right for them".

Hampton has increased staff in its Office of Community Care and call center, two areas where it expects to see greater traffic. The law's requirement that the VHA adopt an electronic claims system should make a big difference in timely payment of claims, she said.

TriWest will continue as interim administrator for the Choice program while the new contractors, including Optum Public Sector Solutions, ramp up their networks and processes over the coming year.

Note: Average drive times are calculated by VA using geo-mapping software. "That's setting an expectation they won't be able to meet, and veterans won't be happy".

Officials at the VA say they are confident things will go smoothly.

Paralyzed Veterans of America has always been a champion of, and one of the most influential voices for, VA reform.

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