VA announces access standards for health care


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Today, VA announced its proposed access standards for community care and urgent care provisions that will take effect in June and guide when Veterans can seek care to meet their needs under the MISSION Act – be it with VA or with community providers.

Under the MISSION Act, signed by President Trump in June 2018, there are six different eligibility criteria for community care:

  • Services unavailable
  • Residence in a State without a full-service VA medical facility
  • 40-mile legacy/grandfathered from the Choice program
  • Access standards
  • Best medical interest
  • Needing care from a VA medical service line that VA determines is not providing care that complies with VA’s standards for quality

 

ACCESS STANDARDS

VA is proposing new access standards, effective when the final regulations publish (expected in June 2019), to ensure Veterans have greater choice in receiving care.

Eligibility criteria and final standards as follows were based on VA’s analysis of all of the best practices both in government and in the private sector and tailored to the needs of our Veteran patients:

  • Access standards will be based on average drive time and appointment wait times.
  • For primary care, mental health, and non-institutional extended care services, VA is proposing a 30-minute average drive time standard.
  • For specialty care, VA is proposing a 60-minute average drive time standard.
  • VA is proposing appointment wait-time standards of 20 days for primary care, mental health care, and non-institutional extended care services, and 28 days for specialty care from the date of request with certain exceptions.

Eligible Veterans who cannot access care within those standards would be able to choose between eligible community providers and care at a VA medical facility.

URGENT CARE

Eligible Veterans will have access to urgent (walk-in) care that gives them the choice to receive certain services when and where they need it. To access this new benefit, Veterans will select a provider in VA’s community care network and may be charged a copayment.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said, “Our medical services must meet our Veterans’ needs and reinforce the trust that forms the basis for every interaction with VA. Our new access standards are a vital part of this effort.

“Most Americans can already choose the health care providers that they trust, and President Trump promised that Veterans would be able to do the same. With VA’s new access standards, the future of the VA health care system will lie in the hands of Veterans – exactly where it should be.”

Secretary Wilkie’s full statement is available here.

VA encourages the public to comment on the proposed access standards and urgent care benefit during the public comment period once these proposed regulations (RIN 2900-AQ46 and RIN 2900-AQ47, respectively) publish in the Federal Register; we look forward to receiving this feedback.

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Comments

  1. Lynda G. Bennick    

    We desperately need continuity of care for conditions that are complex and difficult to diagnose! When the VA does it right I cannot complain the care is thorough and great. However, when the condition is complex there is too much time and not enough communication between providers. My acute condition is GI. Probably gallbladder and adhesions. The nurse has been working hard to help coordinate but the doctor’s just don’t want to work together with each other to coordinate my care. There has been a necessity for me to have some tests in the community, but the GI at Austin did not agree with the GI from the community and I have had a lot of unnecessary re-testing and pain because the issue persisted for the past 2.5 years.

  2. Robert Toporek    

    You gotta be kidding someone who knows nothing about immediate health care needs designed these criteria.
    For instance about a week ago I started pooping blood for two days. Thank God I had Medicare.

    My primary Dr is in worse shape, mentally and physically than I ever have been done and is more interested in him than me.

    I have prostrate cancer my initial compensation was pathetic like 2% finally got it to 100% but have been waiting for over 3 weeks for a rexam to have it become permenat. I will probably die before then

  3. Bryan Kleine    

    About Time! Now get rid of the interns. Tired of being a guinea pig…

  4. Shannon Martin    

    20 day wait time for mental health, although better is still not enough. Mental health can turn into a crisis just by being told to wait to speak to someone in 20 days.
    Withdrawal from medications can occur in less than 5 days.
    Additional research needs to be completed regarding wait times for appointments.

    Shannon Martin

  5. doanld kell    

    we hace a dental clinic here but i have to wait 2 months to see a dentist. have 3 teeth that came out

  6. Michael Bayliss    

    PTSD treatment is still very limited at the VA. How will this “new plan” help extend treatment?

  7. Nolene Rodriguez    

    The Doctors At The VA Hospital And The Staff Do Great Works At The Manhattan (23rd. st.) V.A. Now THE BAD PARTS, I Had To Wait Almost A Month Just To See A Therapist So That I Can Start Therapy NOW I HAVE WAIT ALMOST 2 MONTH BEFOR I CAN START THERAPY ON MY SHOULDER I HAD 2 STEROIDS INJECTION SO FAR SO ITS GOING TO BE AROUND 3 MONTHS BEFOR I CAN GET ANY HELP WHEN IT COMES TO THERAPY..NOW THATS THE 23rd. STREET V.A.HOSPITAL IN N.Y.C. AT WORK..☹️

  8. Ronald lewis    

    That is not the only issue with the VA lack of modern drugs and accessibility to them. If the VA does not have the drug needed to treat you then you are on your own. If you bring an outside prescription from a civilian doctor and it is not in their pharmaceutical list they will deny it. They have come up with more ingenious ways to fudge the waiting list then you can hardly imagine. They have seen to become more interested in documenting paperwork to satisfy administration personnel then worrying about modern care and finding the best doctors available. Veterans who only have VA health care are at the mercy of these administrators who do not have a clue.

  9. Treva Owens    

    They also need local dentists. Driving 3 hours to Va and 3 hours back is crazy.

  10. Frank Azzopardi    

    With all the good news that is released recently, when are honorably discharged veterans who served proudly living abroad be considered to be given medical benefits? I keep being rejected for medical care and medicines because I live abroad.

    Frank Azzopardi

    USN

Comments are closed.