All programs focus on non-VA health care opportunities for Veterans, with provisions allowing coverage for community providers.
Congressman Jack Bergman, Ranking Member on the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, issued a release Wednesday about a new VA act.
The Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday will begin allowing a broad swath of its 9 million enrollees to seek medical care outside of traditional VA hospitals, the biggest shift in the US health care system since the passage of the Affordable Care Act almost a decade ago.
"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.
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Other additions to health care options under the MISSION Act include a new urgent care benefit, where veterans can visit any urgent care center that is in network for little to no cost at all.
Under the new program, veterans may see non-VA doctors if they must wait longer than 20 days or drive more than 30 minutes for primary or mental health care at a VA facility. Coverage is also offered for specialty services when the wait is longer than 28 days or an hour drive. The most noteworthy was Veterans Choice, established in 2014 during the Obama administration. The Community Care program does not diminish the VA's obligation to directly provide care and continue improving its services, the agency said. Packaged under the guise of giving veterans more choices, VCCP will likely lead to the dismantling and privatization of the VA healthcare system that my fellow veterans and I want and need. "With the MISSION Act, it actually consolidates a lot of the systems into a more cohesive one system so we can help the veterans better", said Dr. Isabel Kozak, Phoenix VA assistant chief of staff. "What we're actually doing is streamlining the are for community care".
Congressman Bergman continued, "As veterans in the First District of MI seek care, they will experience increased choice and timeliness".
Officials at the VA say they are confident things will go smoothly.