Tomah VA to offer more health care options for veterans

Modesto Morganelli
Giugno 8, 2019

The MISSION Act, which was signed into law by President Trump past year, will replace the Veterans Choice Program and start a new Veterans Community Care Program.

The act was signed into law by President Trump last June amid much fanfare, but its main provisions didn't become effective until Thursday.

Under the new rules, the VA will cover medical costs for vets to see non-VA doctors if they have to wait more than 20 days for an appointment or if their primary or mental healthcare provider is further than a 30-minute drive. For specialists, the threshold is a 60-minute drive.

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.

Other guidelines are more straight-forward.

Under the Community Care rule issued Tuesday, veterans must be enrolled in the VA healthcare system and meet at least one of six conditions to be eligible for VA-paid care outside the VA system. Specifically, this would apply to veterans living in Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire and the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 3.

The MISSION Act also allows eligible veterans to use a private-sector urgent care clinic in case of a bad cold or other problem rather than show up at a VA hospital emergency room.

However, not all parties are pleased with the new Veterans Affairs legislation.

Prior to the MISSION Act, the VA had several programs that offered veterans options.

"The Choice Act has ended but the choice is not going away". According to the VA's official blog, "veterans should expect a fairly transparent and seamless transition" into the new program.

"We are honored to reaffirm our commitment to America's veterans", said VA Medical Center Director Kathy Berger, Chillicothe VA Medical Center. The Community Care program does not diminish the VA's obligation to directly provide care and continue improving its services, the agency said. For more than 70 years, the organization has ensured that veterans receive the benefits earned through service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis. That address is for general questions, not confidential queries about a specific case.

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