VA Making Changes to Veterans Choice Program

VA Makes Changes to Veterans Choice Program

submitted by Yvette Mason, Veteran Service Representative

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced a number of changes to make participation in the Veterans Choice Program easier and more convenient for Veterans who need to use it. The move, which streamlines eligibility requirements, follows feedback from Veterans along with organizations working on their behalf.
Under the updated eligibility requirements, a Veteran is eligible for the Veterans Choice Program if he or she is enrolled in the VA health care system and meets at least one of the following criteria:
• Told by his or her local VA medical facility that they will not be able to schedule an appointment for care within 30 days of the date the Veteran’s physician determines he/she needs to be seen or within 30 days of the date the Veteran wishes to be seen if there is no specific date from his or her physician;

• Lives more than 40 miles driving distance from the closest VA medical facility with a full-time primary care physician;

• Needs to travel by air, boat or ferry to the VA medical facility closest to his/her home;

• Faces an unusual or excessive burden in traveling to the closest VA medical facility based on geographic challenges, environmental factors, a medical condition, the nature or simplicity or frequency of the care needed and whether an attendant is needed. Staff at the Veteran’s local VA medical facility will work with him or her to determine if the Veteran is eligible for any of these reasons; or

• Lives in a State or Territory without a full-service VA medical facility which includes: Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire (Note: this excludes New Hampshire Veterans who live within 20 miles of the White River Junction VAMC) and the United States Territories (excluding Puerto Rico, which has a full service VA medical facility).

Veterans seeking to use the Veterans Choice Program or wanting to know more about it, can call1-866-6068198 to confirm their eligibility and to schedule an appointment. For more information, you can contact your local Veteran Service Office at 760-873-7850 or icvso@inyocounty.us

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