May 31, 2019
VAntagePoint Contributor | VAntage Point
As the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s signing of the VA MISSION Act of 2018 (the MISSION Act) approaches on June 6, Veterans can expect to have more choices than ever in getting timely, high-quality care.
VA is required to implement major parts of the new Veterans Community Care Program under the MISSION Act by June 6, 2019. This new Program will become effective after VA publishes implementing regulations.
Veterans should expect a fairly transparent and seamless transition to the new Veterans Community Care Program. After June 6, VA cannot furnish care under the Veterans Choice Program (VCP). The two other most important changes that become effective on June 6 include:
- New eligibility criteria, which will go into effect for Veteran community care.
- A new urgent care benefit, which will become available.
Veterans should continue to talk with their VA care team about the best way to get the care they need—either from a VA medical facility or community provider. As they do now, Veterans may also need to pay a copayment for care for nonservice-connected conditions, just as they would if they received care at a VA medical facility. Special copayment rules apply to the new urgent care benefit.
Sunset of Veterans Choice Program
Starting June 7, 2019, VA can no longer furnish care to eligible Veterans under VCP. As a result, VCP eligibility criteria will no longer be used to determine eligibility for care beyond that date. To prepare for the end of VCP, VA has already begun transitioning its authorizations for care away from VCP in advance to make sure Veterans do not experience a lapse in care after June 6, 2019.
Certain Veterans that were eligible under VCP based on distance may still be eligible to receive community care after June 6, 2019, under the “grandfather” eligibility criterion established under the MISSION Act.
Veterans who were eligible for community care under VCP should speak to their VA care team or a VA staff member at their local VA medical facility about their eligibility for community care after June 6, 2019.
Veterans can call the VA Adverse Credit Helpline at 877-881-7618 for help resolving adverse credit reporting and debt collection issues as a result of using community care.
Even with all the expected improvements in community care, the Veterans Community Care Program will continue to serve as a supplement to the outstanding health care VA provides to Veterans in-house. VA employees are passionate about caring for Veterans and are highly experienced in meeting Veterans’ specific needs. Because of this, VA believes Veterans will continue to choose VA.