WWVAMC prepared for launch of VA MISSION Act

Maricruz Casares
Junio 8, 2019

Under the new rule, veterans would be eligible for community care if they must drive 30 minutes or more to a VA facility for primary care or mental health services, or 60 minutes or more for specialty care.

Under the MISSION Act, the VA will pay for veterans to see a private doctor if certain guidelines are met. Ultimately, the new community care program should improve access to health care for veterans, ensuring they have the ability to get the care they need when they need it and where it is most appropriate.

The MISSION Act's creation of the Veterans Community Care Program consolidates and expands the efforts of all the VA's previous programs, including the Veteran's Choice Program.

The agency said it would issue a separate rule establishing competency standards and requirements for provision of care by non-VA providers in clinical areas where the VA has developed special expertise.

Congress must now act to require that VCCP providers undergo the same specialized training for veteran care and hold the same credentials as VHA providers.

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"What this involves is the veterans being able to receive care in the community at the VA's expense and also being able to have access to other services like urgent care and emergent care", said Dr. Maureen McCarthy, Phoenix VA chief of staff. Veterans automatically qualify if they live in a state without a full-service VA facility, which would include Alaska, Hawaii and New Hampshire.

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.

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. "Our staff is steadfast in providing health care that meets the needs of our veterans at the right time and place".

Veterans with questions can contact the Hampton VA Medical Center at 757-722-9961, ext. Will there be enough doctors to take in the potentially large number of new veteran patients around the nation? The Community Care program does not diminish the VA's obligation to directly provide care and continue improving its services, the agency said.

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