A presentation to help explain the VA’s new community care program is being held tomorrow.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will launch the program on June 6th, implementing portions of the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018, known as the MISSION Act.
The VA MISSION Act:
- Strengthens VA’s ability to recruit and retain clinicians.
- Statutorily authorizes “Anywhere to Anywhere” telehealth provision across state lines.
- Empowers Veterans with increased access to community care.
- Establishes a new, urgent-care benefit that eligible Veterans can access in the community.
The act both ends the Veterans Choice Program and establishes a new Veterans Community Care Program, designed to strengthen the nationwide VA Health Care System by empowering veterans to have more options in their health care decisions.
“We are honored to reaffirm our commitment to America’s Veterans,” said Jim Rice, Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center Director. “Our staff is steadfast in providing health care that meets the needs of our Veterans at the right time and place.”
Eligible veterans can choose to receive care in their community or continue to receive their care from the VA.
Veterans are eligible to choose to receive care in the community if they meet any of the following six eligibility criteria:
- A Veteran needs a service not available at any VA medical facility.
- A Veteran lives in a S. state or territory without a full-service VA medical facility. Specifically, this would apply to Veterans living in Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire and the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- A Veteran qualifies under the “grandfather” provision related to distance eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program.
- VA cannot furnish care in a manner that complies within certain designated access standards. The specific access standards are described below. (Important: Access standards are proposed and not yet final.)
- Average drive time to a specific VA medical facility
- 30-minute average drive time for primary care, mental health and noninstitutional extended care services.
- Sixty-minute average drive time for specialty care.
Note: Average drive times are calculated by VA using geo-mapping software.
- Appointment wait time at a specific VA medical facility
- Twenty days for primary care, mental health care and noninstitutional extended care services, unless the Veteran agrees to a later date in consultation with his or her VA health care provider.
- Twenty-eight days for specialty care from the date of request, unless the Veteran agrees to a later date in consultation with his or her VA health care provider.
- The Veteran and the referring clinician agree it is in the best medical interest of the Veteran to receive community care based on defined factors.
- VA has determined that a VA medical service line is not providing care in a manner that complies with VA’s standards for quality.
The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center is hosting a presentation and question and answer session Thursday at 6pm Eastern Time at Bay College West in Iron Mountain.
The event will be streamed live on the medical center’s Facebook page and will be available for later viewing.