Chillicothe VA launches new care options

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

The program implements portions of the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018 (MISSION Act), which both ends the Veterans Choice Program and establishes a new Veterans Community Care Program.

The specific access standards are described below (important: access standards are proposed and not yet final): (a) Average drive time to a specific VA medical facility (30-minute average drive time for primary care, mental health and noninstitutional extended care services, or 60-minute average drive time for specialty care).

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 now work with their VA health care provider or other VA staff to see if they are eligible to receive community care.

The Veterans Community Care Program is created to serve as a supplement to the health care the VA provides to veterans in-house. Despite increasing eligibility for community care, the VA states they do not expect the program to deplete their budget. That would encourage more providers to participate in the VA's community care networks.

A Veteran needs a service not available at any VA medical facility. The law's requirement that the VHA adopt an electronic claims system should make a big difference in timely payment of claims, she said.

Still, she expressed caution about whether the VHA is ready to launch the Community Care program without hitches, noting that the agency is still working through the contracting process for fiscal intermediaries in several regions around the country.

"They've been working hard on getting all those contracts awarded, but we'll have to see on the rollout", Bash said. We believe all veterans deserve the benefits they have earned through their service and sacrifice. One veteran, Will Fisher (USMC, Iraq), has stated "We're taking tax dollars out of the VA and putting it into the pockets of millionaires and billionaires" running the private-sector healthcare system.

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