Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, today, applauded the Department of Veterans Affairs’ decision to expand eligibility to a program that will make access to care easier for Veterans living more than 40 miles away from a VA medical facility.
The Veteran Choice Program, which currently allows veterans who live more than 40 miles in a straight line from a VA facility or who face significant delays in scheduling an appointment to receive care in their communities at non-VA medical facilities has been amended to include driving distance in considering that 40-mile allowance.
“This is a step in the right direction in fixing a rule that presents a challenge for so many of our veterans, particularly those here in the Virgin Islands, from having easy access to care. Under this proposed fix Virgin Island veterans would be able to qualify for and use their “Choice Cards” at local medical facilities to access services that they would otherwise have to travel to Puerto Rico to receive,” Plaskett said.
Plaskett, along with her colleagues Reps. Rick Nolan and Markwayne Mullin have previously co-sponsored legislation to change VA’s 40-mile eligibility criteria.
H.R. 572, or the Veterans Access to Community Care Act of 2015 proposes to ensure veterans’ access to private healthcare regardless if the nearest VA medical facility can provide services.
The VA’s proposed change will almost double the number of veterans who qualify under the program, which was initially authorized by the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014.
Veterans wanting to confirm their eligibility under the Veterans Choice Program should call 1-866-606-8198.