VA Implements Private Sector Healthcare Programs

The VA expands access to care under the VA MISSION Act, allowing vets to see private sector doctors, specialists in certain cases.

The VA MISSION Act, which was signed into law by President Trump on June 6th of last year, is now in effect, including a provision that allows military veterans to go to an urgent care facility for acute illness or injury and the Veterans Community Care Program, which expands access to healthcare to the private sector.

Under the new Community Care Program, veterans whose local VA facility is more than a 30-minute drive, or those who must wait more than 20 days for a primary care or mental health appointment, may qualify for private care. Additionally, if a veteran has to drive more than 60 minutes to a VA facility, or has to wait more than 28 days for a specialty care appointment, seeing a specialist in the private sector will be considered.

Previously, veterans who had to drive more than 40 miles, or wait longer than 30 days for an appointment with the VA, could choose to see a private sector doctor paid for by the VA.

VA officials have estimated the new rules could dramatically increase access to care for veterans, making as many as 2.1 million eligible for VA-sponsored private care, up from around 560,000.

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