Millions of veterans nationwide now have a card that's supposed to improve their access to health care. But, there are doubts about whether the VA is really serious about the new Veterans Choice program.
The Choice program is meant to let veterans get care from private providers if they live at least 40 miles from a VA healthcare facility, or if they face longer than a 30-day wait for an appointment. At a recent hearing, Kansas Senator Jerry Moran told Secretary Robert McDonald the VA seems to be putting its own welfare ahead of what’s best for veterans.
“The concern I have is that the VA has a mentality against outside care, even in the circumstances of can’t get care within 30 days, or within 40 miles,” says Moran.
Moran says it’s not fair to measure the distance as the crow flies, rather than the actual road miles it takes to reach a VA facility. And veterans 40 miles from ANY VA healthcare center—even one that doesn’t offer the services they need—can’t use private providers. Meanwhile, the VA wants to shift Choice funding to other programs.