Vet's Post

CARE Act an Improvement

Freddy Groves, December 2017
Posted

The Department of Veterans Affairs is proposing the new Veterans Coordinated Access and Rewarding Experiences (CARE) Act and has sent those ideas to the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees.

The original CHOICE Act gave veterans the option of getting medical care closer to home, outside of a VA facility, if they lived more than 40 miles from one or couldn’t get an appointment for 30 days. That was a good step, except when it came to determining just what “40 miles” meant. It sounded great to be able to access care close to one’s home, except the contact number to make appointments was involved in a scam. That sounded fine, except care providers were bailing due to lack of payment.

This CARE Act proposes to simplify eligibility requirements, implement new care coordination support, and streamline clinical and admin processes.

VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin says, “We want veterans to work with their VA physicians to make informed decisions that are best for their clinical needs, whether in the VA or in the community.” Which means what? That the third-party vendor will no longer need to approve your request to go outside the system?

VA officials are proposing to change the 40-mile, 30-day difficulty rule that has kept many veterans from getting care. There are other items as well: tools to strengthen VA care, partner with other federal agencies and “business process enhancements to improve financial management.”

To find out how quickly your nearest facility can see you, go to www.accesstocare.va.gov.

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