Deadline for Veterans’ Choice Card and Call Center Looming


clockThe Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, (signed into law Aug 7, 2014 as Pub.L. 113-146.) may not meet important tasks in time. (see govtrak for bill details).

The VA has no later than 90 days to issue the Veterans’ Choice Card to eligible vets.  So that means on or about Nov. 6 veterans living over 40 miles from a medical center (and fewer miles for some conditions) should have their cards.  Or if they are waiting for certain services for over 30-days.

However, Solicitation VA79114N0090, which appeared on FedBizOpps.gov, shows that the VA is late in seeking a third party administrator (TPA).  For details, plug the # in solicitation/keyword box and search). In Sept. the VA held an information event for potential vendors in Colorado about:  Non-VA Third Party Administrator to support the implementation of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014. (I emailed a VA employee for information on TPAs but have received no response and I don’t see any notices on the VA website.)

The text of the law reads–

(f) Veterans Choice Card-

      (1) IN GENERAL- For purposes of receiving care and services under this section, the Secretary shall, not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, issue to each veteran described in subsection (b)(1) a card that may be presented to a health care provider to facilitate the receipt of care or services under this section. (2) NAME OF CARD- Each card issued under paragraph (1) shall be known as a `Veterans Choice Card’. (3) DETAILS OF CARD- Each Veterans Choice Card issued to a veteran under paragraph (1) shall include the following:
        (A) The name of the veteran. (B) An identification number for the veteran that is not the social security number of the veteran. (C) The contact information of an appropriate office of the Department for health care providers to confirm that care or services under this section are authorized for the veteran. (D) Contact information and other relevant information for the submittal of claims or bills for the furnishing of care or services under this section. (E) The following statement: `This card is for qualifying medical care outside the Department of Veterans Affairs. Please call the Department of Veterans Affairs phone number specified on this card to ensure that treatment has been authorized.’.
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Please, I need my Veterans Choice Card. I’m sick and need to see a doctor but they won’t see me without insurance. Come in? I live two hours away.

I expect major news outlets will pick up on this story soon, but I don’t see much activity at the moment. I would starting calling your local VMAC if you live over 40 miles away and ask for the mandated card.

Maybe they can email temporary cards to eligible vets who are enrolled in myhealthyevets.   This program is different from the PCCC programs and the VA Clinics. And the VA will be the second payer, or payer of last resort, if other insurance is available.  But getting the card is an important security for a veteran who is afraid to go to a non-contracted VA health provider without it. And I know for a fact in places like Dallas, if you don’t have health insurance, you don’t get to see a doctor.  It’s the first question asked by staffers and it is confirmed. That’s why the uninsured, including vets, go to the nearest ER and wait.

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8 Responses to Deadline for Veterans’ Choice Card and Call Center Looming

  1. The way I interpret this act is to help you out if you are 40 miles away OR if you try for an appointment and can’t get one (for 30 days). It should not matter the distance from the VA if they wont book you promptly for an appointment even if you live next door to the VA. By the way, at my VAMC I tried to get an appointment and they were booked up so they sent me for private care AND I live only about 10 miles from my VAMC. (But I did not get a choice card, yet). So far, its been a good thing, at least for me.

    • Kiedove says:

      That’s great news. I hope you’ll be able to see the same private provider for your follow-up if you liked them. Let us know. I think you must have been seen by a contracted PCCC provider. Since you live so close to a VAMC, I’d be surprised if you’ll get a Veterans’ Choice Card but one can always hope!

      • drshills says:

        The Choice Card are to be used by Veterans if they are 40 miles away from a VA and also they are unable to get an appointment at their local VA within 30 days. So, yes, he will get a card but the first Veterans to receive a card will be those who live 40 miles away, then the rest will receive theirs.

        • Kiedove says:

          If you’ve read anything current about the Nov. 5th actual roll-out, please let us know. One reporter believes the VA is looking to delay it. I’m going to post on his research shortly.

  2. Reblogged this on diaryofashieldmaiden and commented:
    Important reminder if you are 40 miles out from a VA clinic/hospital!

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