Feedback from veterans has led to changes that will make participating in the Veterans Choice Program more convenient, especially for those who live far from a VA medical facility.
The Choice Program went into effect in 2014, and more than 400,000 medical appointments have been logged since then. Under the old policy, a veteran was eligible for the program if he or she had enrolled in VA health care by August 1, 2014, or was able to enroll as a combat veteran; experienced unusual or excessive burden, determined by geographical challenges, environmental factors, or medical condition affecting ability to travel; or lived more than 40 miles from the closest VA medical facility.
Under the updated requirements, a veteran is eligible if he or she has been waiting (or will have to wait) more than 30 days for VA medical care; lives more than 40 miles driving distance from the closest VA medical facility with a full-time primary care physician; needs to travel by air, boat, or ferry to the closest facility; faces an unusual or excessive burden in traveling; or lives in a state or territory without a full-service VA medical facility.
Care in the community is covered only by the VA for medical needs that have been approved by the veteran’s VA physician. The Choice Program does not affect the veteran’s existing VA health care or any other VA benefit.
For more details: www.va.gov/opa/choiceact.