Frank sends us an article from the Washington Post which provides an overview of some of the issues that are involved in the new attempt to “fix” the Veterans Choice Program: “Congress sends massive veterans bill to Trump, opening door to more private health care.” (LINK)
A plain language summary of the bill has been provided by Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Phil Roe, MD. (LINK to PDF–26 pages).
The Veterans Choice Program dies in one year (page 10):
“Section 143 would provide a sunset date for the Veterans Choice Program one year
after the date of enactment of this Act.”
The new bill is an improvement but the VA has a habit of writing regulations interpreting these bills in ways that go against the intent of Congress and against the best interests of veterans. And 16 labor unions representing civil servants are opposed to this bill.
“The regulatory fight is going to be an even bigger fight than the legislative fight,” Bob Carey, director of policy and advocacy for veterans service organization The Independence Fund, said at a panel recently….Those people that write regulations are not going to be writing regulations that get rid of their own jobs. They’re not going to be writing regulations that get rid of their own authority.” (LINK)
The GAO released an important report on the “Choice” program this week before the signing: VETERANS CHOICE PROGRAM, Improvements Needed to Address Access-Related Challenges as VA Plans Consolidation of its Community Care Programs. (LINK to GAO 18-281 102 pages). It outlines the failures of the Choice program which remains in place for another year, but hopefully will inform the new VA regulations.
There will be chances for us to comment on VA and non–VA care on government websites in the months ahead!
Yep, The Mission Act was just signed. Great for veterans but the same old issue is at hand again…….the funding of this initiative is an issue. Does it ever end? Senators glad handing each other and already the funding issue is in question!
I understand that the funding is in question. Typical
The va will sabotage the Mission Act just like they did to the Choice Program.
Yes, and there’s still a lot of “red tape” in this bill. Not simple enough. Also, a vet has to not only be enrolled but must have used the VHA at least once in 24 months for some type of care to get non-VA care.
But it seeks to get rid of some of the roadblocks. The caregiver part has received praise. I think the corrupt bonus system has a chance to be reformed. We’ll see.
I use a VA CBOC(as well as other providers) for medical but it’s a 274 mile trip for me to the VA Dentist. Some fellow Vets here have made that trip only to be told their appt was cancelled. Even with that being said VA still balks at providing CHOICE for my dental service. Being a horse’s ass with those in that bureaucracy has myself and a lot of other area Vets now receiving Dental service from a local Dentist (also a Vet – that shuts the mouth of those who say a civilian practitioner doesn’t understand ‘the mentality and needs of Veterans’, and there are a whole load of former military folks serving in the medical profession in the civilian sector).
Yup, this is a serious VA scandal.
Some Federally Qualified Health Centers have some dental clinics that are on a sliding scale. Here is an example in Northern VT.
When we lived in MN without dental insurance, we got our teeth cleaned here–a non-profit org. They charge by Sliding scale and take all insurances, including state programs. Excellent organization.
In VT, we signed up for the Metlife VA DIP insurance and found a talented in-network dentist…so as long as we can afford the premium….we’re good.
My husband should be able to get VA dental via “choice” but we haven’t launched the fight yet.
The BVA has hundreds, nay, thousands of denials in their databases, so I need to delve into why there are so many denials.
Have easy access to VA dental? Tips needed.