Recently, the Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act was passed that requires the VA to establish criteria to determine when eligible veterans can choose to receive care from community healthcare providers.
On February 22nd, the VA published its proposed regulations to determine the criteria for veterans to receive non-VA care as a part of the new Veterans Community Care Program.
The Veterans Community Care Program will replace the Veterans Choice Program in June 2019 and will allow eligible veterans to choose to receive their healthcare, including hospitalization and extended care, through community care providers.
To be eligible, veterans would either have to be enrolled in the VA healthcare system or be eligible to receive VA care (but have not enrolled) and must meet at least one of the following proposedcriteria:
1. The required care or service is not offered by the VA.
2. There is no full-service VA medical facility in the veteran’s state.
3. The veteran was enrolled in the Veterans Choice Program and is grandfathered into the Veterans Community Care Program.
4. The VA is not able to comply with the VA’s access standards to provide care or services to the veteran.
5. The veteran and his care provider have determined that receiving care or services from a community care provider is in the best medical interests of the veteran.
6. The VA determines that the VA medical service line the veteran is using does not provide care that meets the VA’s quality of care standards.
As these changes would affect numerous veterans, the VA has opened a public comment period to allow veterans to submit feedback concerning these criteria, including proposing additional criteria. All comments concerning these access criteria as well as other provisions in the program must be received on or before March 25, 2019.
This is your opportunity to tell the VA about your experiences, point out changes you’d like to see, and have a say in the process. The VA looks at all the comments it receives and must consider them before making the final criteria for participation in the Veterans Community Care Program.
Written comments may be submitted by email through http://www.regulations.gov. Written comments may also be mailed or hand-delivered to Director, Office of Regulation Policy and Management (ooREG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW, Room 1063B, Washington, DC 20420. Submissions may also be faxed to (202) 273-9026. Please be sure to indicate that these comments are being submitted in response to “RIN 2900-AQ46, Veterans Community Care Program” in order for them to be directed to the right place.