The Choice program will continue to allow veterans to see private doctors if they are experiencing long wait-times in getting their health care needs addressed at the VA.
Veterans that live outside 40 miles of a VA facility or who cannot see a VA doctor within 30 days are currently allowed to use the VA Choice program to see a private doctor close to their home. Although many veterans have struggled to get access to the program and different regions in the nation have fallen behind in this task the program will likely improve. Congress and the VA are looking to work together to maintain a CARE program or reformed and upgraded version of the Choice program.
What this means for you is policy leaders and groups like VetsFirst can highlight what has gone right and help build a better program to loosen restrictions for entry. No veteran should have to wait longer than 40 days or 30 days to see a doctor. We must get better at delivering care closer to where veterans live.
Veterans with disabilities or mobility issues in particular should have avenues for securing care close to home and not having to fight the VA bureaucracy or argue with the government to acquire a benefit that Congress boasts it is providing them. We are going to collaborate with VA and look forward to engaging in an insightful discussion to make this program better.
If you have inputs and insights into how to make the Choice program better or want to share positive or challenging stories please email our team in Washington, DC so we can bring this information to VA leaders. We look forward to actively working with Congress, the VA, and the president to make the CARE program that is passed into law later this year a better program that makes sure you see the right doctor within a reasonable amount of time.