Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
U.S. | By Vera Richards

President Trump Extends Private-Sector Health Care Program for Veterans

President Trump Extends Private-Sector Health Care Program for Veterans

President Trump reauthorized the Veterans Choice Act Wednesday, giving veterans more options when it comes to their health care. "And in fact, I made it clear from the get go that I would not vote to extend the choice program until Congress and the VA program address some of the biggest concerns that I've been hearing from Montana veterans and community providers".

The Choice law allows any veterans who either have had to wait 30 days for an appointment or live 40 miles or more from the nearest VA facility to visit a private doctor.

Veterans Choice was set to expire in August.

This sentiment is echoed by TriWest, one of VA's partners in administering the Veterans Choice Program. "You got it, the doctor of their choice and don't have to wait and travel long distances for V-A care".

Tester, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans' Affairs committee, says he hopes to have draft legislation incorporating private-sector reform proposals ready in the fall.

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"We need to make sure the Choice Program continues, but it works better for veterans", Shulkin said.

CVA Executive Director Mark Lucas offered the following statement, thanking Trump and Congress for taking steps to improve veterans' care. The bill being signed by Trump seeks to alleviate some of the problems by helping speed up VA payments and promote greater sharing of medical records.

Trump is expected to dedicate a White House press conference to veterans issues next week.

In fact, since the inception of Choice, more than seven million appointments have been scheduled with community providers for medical services ranging from diagnostic tests and physical therapy to life saving heart and cancer care. They had the worst wait times for veterans and officials have been trying to find a solution ever since. But, he wants the VA to handle all scheduling and "customer service" - something that veterans groups generally support but government auditors caution could prove unwieldy and expensive.

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