New eligibility criteria a major improvement over existing rules


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Note: This article is the third in a series on VA’s progress implementing the VA MISSION Act of 2018.

VA recently proposed new rules for Veteran community care that include six new eligibility criteria for Veterans under the VA MISSION Act, which was signed into law by President Trump in June 2018.

The new eligibility criteria will be a major improvement over existing criteria in terms of making things simpler: currently, eligibility criteria vary between VA’s community care programs.  When the new criteria go into effect, Veterans can expect better access and greater choice in their health care, whether at VA or through a community provider.

The eligibility criteria are projected to go into effect in June 2019 after final regulations are published and effective, so the criteria are not yet final. In addition, key aspects of community care eligibility include the following:

  • Veterans must receive approval from VA prior to obtaining care from a community provider in most circumstances.
  • Veterans must either be enrolled in VA health care or be eligible for VA care without needing to enroll to be eligible for community care.
  • Eligibility for community care will continue to be dependent upon a Veteran’s individual health care needs or circumstances.
  • VA staff members generally make all eligibility determinations.
  • Veterans will usually have the option to receive care at a VA medical facility regardless of their eligibility for community care.
  • Meeting any one of six eligibility criteria listed below is sufficient to be referred to a community provider—a Veteran does not have to meet all of them to be eligible. (Real-world examples of when a Veteran would be eligible for community care are included in the eligibility fact sheet linked at the end of the article).

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Veteran Needs a Service Not Available at a VA Medical Facility

In this situation, a Veteran needs a specific type of care or service that VA does not provide in-house at any of its medical facilities.

  1. Veteran Lives in a U.S. State or Territory Without a Full-Service VA Medical Facility

In this scenario, a Veteran lives in a U.S. State or territory that does not have a full-service VA medical facility. Specifically, this would apply to Veterans living in Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, and the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

  1. Veteran Qualifies under the “Grandfather” Provision Related to Distance Eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program

For this element, there are a few different ways that a Veteran could be eligible for community care. Initially, the following two requirements must be met in every case:

  • Veteran was eligible under the 40-mile criterion under the Veterans Choice Program on the day before the VA MISSION Act was enacted into law (June 6, 2018), and
  • Veteran continues to reside in a location that would qualify them under that criterion.

If both of these requirements have been met, a Veteran may be eligible if one of the following is also true:

  • Veteran lives in one of the five States with the lowest population density from the 2010 Census: North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Alaska, and Wyoming, or
  • Veteran
    • lives in another State,
    • received care between June 6, 2017, and June 6, 2018, and
    • requires care before June 6, 2020
  1. VA Cannot Furnish Care within Certain Designated Access Standards

To be eligible under this criterion, Veterans must meet specific access standards for average drive time or appointment wait-times.

The specific access standards are described below. (Important: Access standards are proposed and not yet final).

Average drive time to a specific VA medical facility

  • 30-minute average drive time for primary care, mental health, and non-institutional extended care services (including adult day health care)
  • 60-minute average drive time for specialty care

Appointment wait time at a specific VA medical facility

  • 20 days for primary care, mental health care, and non-institutional extended care services, unless the Veteran agrees to a later date in consultation with their VA health care provider
  • 28 days for specialty care from the date of request, unless the Veteran agrees to a later date in consultation with their VA health care provider
  1. It Is in the Veteran’s Best Medical Interest

In this situation, a Veteran may be referred to a community provider when the Veteran and the referring clinician agree that it is in their best medical interest to see a community provider.

  1. A VA Medical Service Line Does Not Meet Certain Quality Standards

In this scenario, if VA has identified a medical service line is not meeting VA’s standards for quality based on specific conditions, Veterans can elect to receive care from a community provider with certain limitations.

Going Forward

What is described above should be taken as a preview of what the final eligibility criteria may be, because it is not yet final. The new criteria are expected to go into effect in June 2019, after final regulations are published and effective.

Resources

 


IMAGE: Jonathan LudwigJonathan Ludwig is the communication lead for VHA’s Office of Community Care.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. ralph eward leasure    

    I can,t get any answer when call or IF they do answer they NEVER call back this going on for long time

  2. Richard Houchens    

    BULL HOCKEY!!!!! I SAY ONE MORE TIME. BULL HOCKEY!!!!!

  3. Arthur Christopher Tanny    

    I see again that the Vetrans that are in the VA Manila Clinic Care is again just screwed for proper service. This act should cover all VA Clinics and not discriminate against Location, national origin and race. Brothers in arms, Americans and those that have given their all to protect America should ALL HAVE THE SAME TREATMENT!

    No matter where the VA Clinics are, even though there is only one that is outside the US, Should be covered.

    The VA should not discriminate against Veterans, no matter where they resided!

  4. Henry Felter    

    I used the VA for 45 years, but moved to Thailand to raise grandson. No VA here and the one in Manilla only accepts Vets who live in the Phippines. It’d be nice to be able to have the Choice program here

  5. Greg Veeh    

    Is the new program going to correct this issue, and before I describe that I’ll mention I approached my State Senator about this and his response was “yeah that program didn’t work out as planned” then he laughed as he turned and walked away. There is a local VA clinic here that provides primary care and has a small lab, for anything more it’s 120 miles away. In the past year I’ve needed MRI, CT, dental work and needed to see a urologist. In each case I tried to get approved for Choice, I’m rated 100% disabled and traveling is an issue, a big issue. Choice refused me in every case. Even though the local clinic provides just basic care I still have to travel the 120 miles for advanced care just because the clinic is here. If any care is local, no matter how minor, then all care has to be continued in only VA facilities. I’m currently at the end of my patience and ready to go without care due to traveling being so difficult.

    1. Jack Gill    

      Greg: there is a criteria where if you are unable to travel due to health conditions. You should be able to get care close to your home. Your VA doctor needs to document this care. The new criteria just listed. Items 3 and 4 should help. Study this new information. Don’t give up the fight.

  6. GARY g GENTRY    

    va has health insurance has been good to mw

  7. warner    

    TO EVERYBODY, If you read through here you will get a picture of the real world of the VA. I’ve had several people who have called me in the last week would argue that point. They seem to want to make sure that I just let it go. All I hear from all these supposed advocates is “We’re Sorry” and “We understand your frustration” to where I can’t stand it those lines anymore. That is the extent of their help. They claim they are veterans but at this point I find it hard to believe.

    I want to find a forum where those of us who want to see to it that veterans aren’t left to die and suffer with the Mission Act like with Choice. It could be you some day that it is You that is left high and dry. If ANYBODY knows where we can communicate publicly and privately PLEASE post it. We can literally save lives. Btw not one of these so called advocates that are trying to help us argued the point when I brought up that veterans are dying.

  8. Bill scott    

    I asked the Dr at the French Camp ca facility why could only see me once a year and was told with 1800 patients for 1 dr that was the problem. I have federal health insurance and that pays the visit. I have to use a local DR and pay $30 per visit co pay the VA is NO CO PAY.
    System is messed up and because if that have just stated paying for MEDICARE B.

    1. Sylvia Stanley    

      My daughter died 5 years ago, because the va took too long for dental repair surgery. The va doctor mess up her mouth. The va is still trying to get out of their mistake. My next move is to have an investigative reportor , expose everything the Dekalb Va did to cause her death. I am ready to expose everthing

  9. mark dugat    

    I have been on the choice program for years. Since I live 76 miles from the main facility, and 41 miles from my PCP. The problem that me and a bunch of other people have is that the VA. does most of their out sourcing through Tri-West and it is a real pain trying to get any thing done though them. My question is, is the new eligibility program gonna fix this problem.

    1. Ken smallcanyon    

      I hear triwest is gonna be eliminated from the process. Hope it’s true because they are about the most disorganized organization in our country.

      1. Lacy Dawn    

        Are you sure they will be eliminated? How can this be confirmed?

  10. The Forgotten Marine    

    What seems to be noted is FACT. At a minimum 22 veterans commit suicide each and everyday, that’s 22 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year. We are BROTHERS IN ARMS, and we need to support each other. A vast majority of homeless in the country are veterans, and some states are right to hire states which simply means, just because you’re a qualified and or overqualified veteran they DONT have to hire you. That’s just one of the political hurdles you face in a Commonwealth. If you have the ability volunteer with an organization that caters to veterans, like the Wounded Warriors, the many different organizations need all the help they can, because we’re sure not going to get it any other way. The next time you vote, make sure the Commander in Chief has served in the military so they can relate to the many hardships we face daily, because we need to have a voice and not be used again as pawns in politics. Thank you for serving, and for those that have passed honor them with dignity. Be Proud, Stand Tall, and LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD. SEMPER FIDELIS.

  11. Carey F Daly    

    What kind of a “Choice” is it? The ultimate decision as to a vet using a community provider for Tests or Care still lies with the local VA primary care provider, when the vet needs services not provided by the local clinic. All of the “New” rules still leave control in the hands of primary care/VA. I live 90 minutes/78 miles from the VA hospital, and was my own advocate to convince my primary care I should go for the prescribed test locally. The process elongated the analysis of my medical problem over 30 days from my initial request to my VA Primary care. I don’t think this was the President’s intention, nor the VA Chief’s direction. ???

    1. Jason Paul Robinson    

      Thank you for your concern for our fellow bother-in-arms, I have tried to make a voice for our veterans in Michigan, but have been shot down at every turn due to the ” upheaval ” it would cause for the positions who are supossed to be help us. I see veterans suffering the effects of combat, on a daily basis, as I am also a combat veteran with PTSD.
      If you could find the time to make yourself available to discuss any options that I have not explored to put veterans issues back on the map, and in front of the people that all of us fought so hard to defend it would be appropriate greatly.
      My email address is as follows
      (redacted)

      Thank you for your time,
      Jason P. Robinson

  12. William Maynard    

    The bottom line with the new Community Care program is that the VA is trying to protect its jobs by making it difficult for veterans to get care outside of the VA system. Veterans Choice was working well. Now I have to jump through hoops to get authorizations, whether new or renewal. Veterans should simply be given the choice to use VA system or use civilian facilities, period. I shouldn’t have to run over to my primary care provider to get an authorization. The VA system is great for veterans who have nothing but time on their hands and want to spend the day at the Medical Center and hang out waiting for various appointments. It is horrible for those of us that work and have responsibilities. My VA doctor actually suggested that I use civilian insurance instead of the VA. Just give veterans the choice they deserve and stop forcing them to deal with the bureaucratic nightmare of the broken VA system. The VA keeps trying to fix itself, but it is not working. Just give us choice like civilians have.

  13. Thea Gove    

    I’d like to tell you one of my many stories about trying to deal with the rules, especially the 40 mile rule for community care, in the Boston VA System. I get my primary care there. I live over 50 miles away. Because of the daily traffic conditions it takes me 2.5+ hours to get there, even at 6am. It’s the same with the 24 Urgent Care which is in West Roxbury. I have been told that I do not qualify for community care because there is a VA facility in Portsmouth NH and in Manchester NH which are both under the 40 mile criteria. Note that these are in NH under the Manchester NH VA System, and my Primary Care is in the Boston VA system. I have a service connected disability. A few years ago I had an emergency situation that had to do with that condition. The VA national after hours phone line told me to go to Manchester NH. A friend drove me. I was told that I would be admitted, so my ride went home. Then I was told that I would be taken by ambulance to Concord NH hospital (not part of VA) because Manchester had no services for my affliction. I had tests done in concord and medication prescribed, but they decided I did not have to be admitted. I was put in a “free” taxi and driven to the Manchester VA. That was as far as they could bring me. I was left in the empty parking lot at 3am and had to find my own way home. To top it off, I couldn’t get my “emergency” medication filled because it had to go through the Boston VA first. I went 2 days without. This is just one of the many situations I have found myself in because the rules say you have to live over 40 miles away from the closest VA. The closest VA to me is in another state and in another VA System. The different VA systems don’t “talk”. For instance, my primary care doctor can’t put in lab orders for me in the Portsmouth VA because she is part of the Boston VA. Yet I get denied every time to go to a community VA because another VA is under 40 miles away. The law doesn’t take into consideration that it is a different VA system and I can’t get the services I need. This new law coming up still looks at the 40 mile rule. It needs to recognize that in some places that takes you to VA systems that aren’t a part of each other. What can I do? The VA in Boston told me (after many different inquiries) every time that “I LIVE IN THE WRONG PLACE”. That is unacceptable and I suffer great hardships and lack of care because of this.

  14. bruce Spry    

    I brought a VA prescription to my LA clinic, could I get an eye exam or glasses? NO……..travel pay distances and amount paid have been different every trip for years and years, when paid. No help from pulmonary, ENT or primary. Nearly died, thank God for outside doctors. Yes choice, where you get to do most of the work. Most vets after name have no VA period. LA veterans does not care if you live two hours away, too busy fighting over who gets which donut.

  15. Siue burriss    

    We live close 100 miles from the VA dental program in Louisville and my husband has to drive there to get dental work. That is a long way for a 71 year old to drive. His primary doctor is about 80 miles away and if he has to drive there it takes all day but if you don’t go you can’t get medicine. My husband ordered some medicine three weeks ago and never got it. We called the pharmacy at the VA and were told it came from Tennessee and was there waiting to be mailed. Called Fort Knox and they said it was sent the 9th. Now who knows where the medicine is. People with PTSD are dangerous without their medication! I can’t see VA is providing services!.

    1. Mitchell Edwards    

      People with PTSD are actually not dangerous without medication, at least not to others, as much as they are themselves. This is re-enforcement of long outdated stigma that surrounds individuals with mental health diagnosis. Statistically an individual with a diagnosis is far more likely to be the victim of a crime, than the perpetrator. This is even more true among our Veteran population. I’m sorry you’re having difficulties with the system, but we have to take opportunities to educate folks about the facts surrounding PTSD, and other mental health diagnoses.

      1. Cassandra Hefton    

        As a disabled veteran with severe PTSD, I can attest to the fact that we ate more dangerous to ourselves. My friends know when I’m off my meds I become very, let’s call it, short tempered. I have never physically harmed anyone else but I do become very verbally violent and lash out for seemingly no reason and then there are the nightmares. Can’t sleep because of them everything is dark and then I just want it to be over. My doctors have been invaluable in stabilizing my condition and the medications are vital. With my treatment I am able to be my more cheerful self. That being said there are so many of my brothers and sisters who are not getting these necessary services because of all the bureaucratic red tape and every time some politician tries to fix it they always make it worse. When are we going to Gerry someone who actually knows and understands what we’re all must go through to get the vital care we need. We did our bit. If people really want to thank us for our service how about providing better services for our wound both visible and invisible. I do not regret one moment of my service. I love my brothers and sisters in arms. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. If one of us suffers, we all suffer. We do not leave a soldier behind. Never have never will. We must all fight together to make sure that all of our brothers and sisters in arms get the care they need. The system will never get better until we show the bureaucrats the way. They need to follow us. We must stand up together and make them hear us.

  16. Ed Talbot    

    Overall, I feel the VA (Bay Pines on FL west coast) does a very good job. Providers are good and wait times are acceptable. If you have a good facility near you you should enroll and use it. Use Veterans Choice or VACCP only if you have to. Everyone should learn the rules and procedures as best they can. Use service organizations (Am Legion, VFW) for help. The system works if you work it,

    1. Charles Dittell    

      Well put. I too have received excellent care at Bay Pines VA facility, but it’s just a little
      too far for easy travel. With my disability, I’m eligible for some additional help, such as
      the Bradenton facility (for the disabled, with needs related to eyes, xtrays and the like.)
      There, too, I’ve received excellent help with waits usually less than 2 weeks.

  17. Rick Shaw    

    Granted, I didn’t read all of the above, but maybe someone already said this about Choice: it was a terrible program. Some of you may not have had experience with Choice, but it required that, once the VA had approved your treatment, they had to send their authorization to a contract company called Healthnet to do the rest of the processing to get you the appointment. However, Healthnet never added anything positive to get me health care outside the VA. They added another layer of unneeded bureaucracy to an already inefficient system, at taxpayer expense – money that could have been put into the VA system. For instance, why did they have to evaluate you again, and generate another authorization? With each step of their process taking five business days? I went through them for four different health problems, due to VA inability to meet the 60 day requirement, and every time I spent many hours over many days over many weeks just to keep my case moving along. I have pages of notes, so it’s too much to go into all of the details; however, I’m hoping the community care option, run by the VA, will be an improvement over the Healthnet involvement.

    On a different topic, I can see some VA problems were caused by the Affordable Health Care Act (known as Obamacare). There are vets who were never in the system, that entered the system to avoid the IRS penalties. Nothing wrong with that, but the system would have to be enlarged (both facilities and providers) to serve the growth in the number of patients. I don’t see the budget increased to account for that – one of those ‘unintended’ consequences. Additionally, even though I’m 100%, I always carried my own outside insurance. The VA could bill this insurance for my health care, thus recouping some of their costs. When Obamacare kicked in, my insurance company closed; therefore, the VA couldn’t recover any costs (BTW, they never billed me for the co-pay). I can’t have been the only person in this situation, so there’s no telling how much money the VA lost when this happened to other vets. Take money out of the system at the same time you’re adding people to the system and of course there will be problems. Too bad Congress passes laws when they’re incapable of doing the math.

  18. warner    

    One thing I’d like to point out to everybody. Many veterans cannot get community healthcare due to the fact they live within 40 miles of a VA medical facility. In Salem, Oregon they will not take you in even if you are very ill as I tried and was told to make the hour plus drive up to Portland’s emergency room at the VA hospital which would have been dangerous and I didn’t have the energy anyway. I have to figure there are tens of thousands of veterans doing without a local PCP. I am hoping the Mission Act will fix this loophole. I have tried twice for community care and been denied even though there’s over 800 people in line to get a doctor but the doctors keep quitting in droves. They will not help you at all, zero.
    After telling a VA nurse of my refusal to be helped she told me she believes the VA healthcare system is genocide. She gave me other information that I was able to verify and she could only have known if she was an insider. So let’s see if we can include every veteran to get healthcare. I’m doing more research and contacting local representatives (again) and I will be contacting journalists starting today. As someone else stated the VA just wants to save money, not lives and I was told just this week by a representative that they are trying to keep costs down. Using the public sector should save money as government agencies typically are less than 50% efficient or even much less compared to the private sector.

  19. Michael Valdivia    

    I’ve been reading comments and complaints regarding community care. 5 years ago using I needed gall bladder surgery. I was asked by my NW VA to seek n confirm with an outside surgeon n using my Healthy Choice Temp Card, who would accept my case. Then I was to forward the Dr the paperwork that the VA sent me. Within a month I had an appt with the surgeon and not long after a surgery date. My question is this. What the hell has occurred that most of these Vets are having bureaucratic nightmares n problems getting community services!? My transition was quick n streamlined including payment by VA to outside surgeon. Why did Trump decide to “fix” something that was working? There may be improvements in the other qualifying points for new program but definitely not community services. I’ve been suffering from moderate / severe TMJ for years but VA says I don’t qualify for dental. It’s a physical structure in jaw joints, not dental. So meds are prescribed. I’m not so sure about requesting community services after reading these comments. Best to all. Seek help from your State Representative or Congressperson. I have and it works!

  20. James A Holcomb    

    The CHOICE program is a joke.I live 43 miles from the VA hospital. Cannot go to out side Dentist because i only live
    31 miles from an Out Patient clinic. Damn long way to drive by any standards. If the hospital is the far i should be able to use the choice program for any surgical procedure .They have not really done anything to make it better as usual. I have already found out the dental department is worthless. They do just enough to get by that is it.

    1. Michael Valdivia    

      James, you just answered my question about seeking outside help for a maxifilla surgeon for my TMJ. In my case for my surgery (see previous post) it was the VA that requested I seek outside services. It may be it was for their convenience such as being over-scheduled for surgeries. Again for their convenience n not Vets.

    2. John Murray    

      Wait until it’s medicare for all. Then you will see the mess we all will be in!

    3. John Murray    

      Things take time to change and especially the VA health care system. I know personally, things are getting better and with more choices. Be patient and proactive

  21. Eddie Smith    

    enroll in VA Health Care.

  22. Eddie Smith    

    I was trying to reply to Susan’s comment above, never used this before and looks like I did something wrong.

  23. Edgar Mosier    

    The roadblock that has stumped me is multi-fold. The VA supposedly won’t have its’ doctors help with forms for worker’s comp, nor, retirement / disability requests, which seems to equate to “Shaft what is due you, soldier.”, in my humble opinion. I have had VA Medical Coverage for years. Maybe the extra $500 / mo retirement / disability matters not to someone, but I did work for it and have been missing it for seven months because someone cannot fill out two forms, and my SSDI hasn’t started paying, yet.

  24. Ken Hall    

    Contact your congressman. They are you best advocate for you.

    1. warner    

      Ken Hall, I have contacted two congressmen and a senator. They are aware of the problems at my local VA medical facility, it’s truly bad, and claim there’s nothing they can do. I just emailed them and the governor and president again yesterday. I’m trying to make sure that everybody is included in this new program the Mission Act.

  25. Kevin Mangum    

    I am eligible for VA community care. The biggest kick i get is when you receive authorization for surgery and hospital stay. Then the hospital , surgeon and all others involved in the surgery start sending you bills. I call the VA when they send me the letter that this was not properly authorized and ask how come it says in my authorization it is. Things are changing in VA but the backlog is still there. The other point is a Veteran as to call their VA regional triage on the weekends when the clinics are not open. Go through alot of questions, be told you can go to the ER but the VA might not pay the bill. Oh and don’t forget to call this other number within x hours and let them know which no one ever calls you back from. The ER should only take one phone call to the VA health regional and if saying you are authorized to use the ER that should be final and VA pay the bill. I like alot of Veterans live in a town with only the Clinic and the nearest VA Hospital is 1 hour and 45 minutes away. As far as DENTAL the VA needs to offer this to every Veteran with a disability rating. There are alot of Veterans who need this because of some illness or being diabetic, then they want you to lose weight and eat this and when you tell them how am I supposed to eat that I don’t have alot of my teeth they look at you as if what you can chew. I do have an upper plate of dentures that I can’t wear because I gag constantly on them. The only option I have is for full implants which will cost 30,000.00 dollars I don’t have that type of money.

    1. Denzel L Struchen    

      My wife had part of her upper plate removed that touched the roof of her mouth , due to gag reflex. Plate stops behind the teeth .

      1. Michael reeves    

        They have a very good program called adopt a vet your local dental office should have information for you one dentist will only take care of one vet no matter what they need when you have been totally treated can they adopt another vet

    2. doug siddens    

      Many of the points have also been my experience. False authorizations, bills sent to me by providers, failed call-backs. L_o_n_g wait times to get service through Community Care, confusion between the various departments handling my care.

    3. Sgt solson    

      Same with me. I got a prov to go to emergency room private hospitable they kept me for two days. Amontillado later they sent me the bills and the VA in Georgia said I had other insurance so I was not authorized. By the way I don’t have other insurance.

    4. Kevin Isom    

      Try calling community care office at the Dallas VA. No matter what time of day you call you get a recording that you have called after business hours or on a holiday. I’ve tried to contact them for two months and still no answer

  26. Francis Edward Garren    

    The issue of Dental for all who are at least 50% but not 100% just got put down due to cost. What I find inconsistent with all of this is why not budget for that first before the above? Also I have been told by one of the top mental health doctors at the Asheville VAMC that many of Donald Trump’s signed into law VA reltated legislations, have not had the budget approved to actually make them viable. I hope that is not the case here.

    1. Thomas W. Farley    

      Talk to your locally elected representative. It is the anti-american and anti-veteran democrats in congress who hate trump so much that they are willing to kill our country.

      1. GEORGE SMITH    

        Keep your politics at home. This site is for info not your hatred.

      2. Mike Beal    

        Bull. This erosion of benefits, although touted as a big improvement, has Trump’s and the Republican’s names all over it. This thing was passed before the midterm.

      3. Agustin Atherley    

        Cut the crap. The buck stops at the President’s desk. If he really wanted the funds he would have put a fight with the same vigor as his fight for funding his “wall:. He signs VA bills as campaign props. Wake up.

      4. Annie S Faison    

        Thomas, you are ill-informed; the Democrats want you to have healthcare and they are not anti-American or anti-Veterans. If you take a look at things your president is cutting everything related to military funding just to get a border wall and your Republican congressman are too afraid to say anything about the spending cuts to veterans. The majority of the Dems served in the military and the Repubs that are in office did not. So, who do you think would fight for Veterans, not the Repubs. No one is trying to kill our country, you might want to take a second look at the liar in office who did everything he could to not go to serve this country who has afforded him the luxury he flaunts in the face of the American people. Another thing is it right that his wife and her parents be given citizenship without going through the necessary steps as required for other legal immigrants in this country? Her parents are able to get SS benefits without having to pay anything into the system whether you want to believe it or not, they are eligible. Your VA benefits are going to them. Your president has free healthcare, why not the Veterans who served this country?

        1. Bill Compton    

          You are completely off topic and obviously an old guard Liberal It is really disappointing that any woman would be so jealous as to make disparaging remarks against another woman who is working every day to help the wives, husbands and families of our disabled Vets, you are dislikable at best

    2. Michael Valdivia    

      The info from your VA regarding signed legislation without a budget sounds so Trump-like. That may very well be. Best to you.

  27. Richard hummel    

    we all should have dental its part of a healthy lifestyle

  28. Richard hummel    

    slow pay to outside consul and they stop seeing you

    1. doug siddens    

      Same experience here. An orthopedics doctor’s clinic refused care as did a dentists office for slow or non payment by the VA.

  29. Kathleen L Thompson    

    I’m a Service Officer in Post 128 in Maine. I’ve advised my guys to look into VADIP which is a program with Delta Dental and MetLife for veterans for dental care. You can find Delta Dental at deltadentalvadip.org. You can call MetLife VADIP at 1-888-310-1681 for enrollment and at 1-888-638-4863 for questions about benefits and service.
    My plan is with MetLife and I’ve had good experiences with it. They can give you a list of providers who accept the plans.
    Good Luck!

    1. Denzel L Struchen    

      The cost vs coverage does not make economic sense. I can use those same premiums and pay less out of pocket

  30. Ray Kenneth Clark    

    I have found only two orthopedic surgeons in Nashville Tn willing to accept the Tri-West VA insurance. Choice is not working because the doctors will not accept the insurance.

    1. James Yonce    

      Same here in N Ga./WNC! No one will take Tri West.

  31. Jimmy D Dickson    

    I’ve had the Same treatment My back teeth have been removed since the beginning of my entrance in the service and now I ended up not being able to chew my food in the back area of my Mouth. They don’t feel my teeth with permanent fillings just temporary filling that fall out or break up to not having hard fillings. I’ve told the dentist that the hygienist he send me to can’t toJmmylerate me is hateful and just doesn’t clean my teeth

    1. Annie S Faison    

      Report her to the board and the dentist. She’s obviously not a professional and is inconsiderate of the fact you served to protect her freedom. What an ingrate.

  32. Kathleen Murray    

    I don’t understand why our veterans are still waiting so long to see a doctor. Our VA took all of the dependents out of the VA hospital system and put us out to community doctors. The last appointment I had at the VA hospital was surprising as it seemed almost empty. I was even able to park close which very seldom happens. The change over for the dependents was handled poorly. Most of us never received any instruction or guidance on how anything was to be handled as far as what doctors we could use or more importantly the costs we would be incurring. My husband is 100% disabled so our income is limited. I now have to pay 25% of the doctor’s bill plus a deductable. Thank goodness I am fairly healthy for my age and only need a couple of prescriptions. I quit going to the doctors because we cannot afford the cost. I see don’t see how this has helped the veterans. The last appointment my husband made was 24 days out.

    1. Sean Funkhouser    

      You are eligible for CHAMPVA. Enroll and save.

  33. Danny Conyers    

    I have used the Choice Program and it the most inconvenient program I have ever seen. First, my primary recommend my need. Then I have to wait for someone from the program to call and let me know they will call me when I am scheduled for an appointment. Each time it was a three week process. And the followup was even worst. I was scheduled at the doctor’s office who treated. A day before I was called by Choice to inform me, “They will be calling the doctor to arrange my followup.” I told this person I did not need them to call the doctor because my appointment has already been established. I was informed “My appointment cannot be approved until they have made the arrangements.” I was totally frustrated and when they called me two weeks later to tell me “They had approved my doctor’s visit”. I told them in NO APOLOGETIC TERMS “GO TO HELL!” I refuse to treated as some welfare case! This so call no program is no better. It should be my decision to make without this third party (Choice)

  34. Colette Johnson    

    If you are eligible for travel pay and you get yourself, drive or have friend or family drive, you file a claim and get paid mileage. If a service such as the DAV brings you, you do not get travel pay. Hope this helps.

  35. jack carus    

    This is just more BULLSHIT. When you have someone located in your city or town that can give you the same service that a VA contractor can. Only thing is, the contractor will give the VA the answer they are looking for. If you disagree, you don’t have any recourse. If you fight them, you go on a list and they will stall on everything. They are Lieing to President Trump……………..

  36. Ronald Wm Ranft    

    Really, this is an improvement? How? I was given the run around about seeing a local provider had done surgery on me after it had been approved by tri-west when it came time to see him on a follow-up appointment because suddenly he wasn’t an approved Doctor on the Tri-West list who had approved him to begin with. After trying for a year to get the VA to approve a cystoscopy the Dr. called me and said he was going to do it free suddenly the VA and Tri-West said they would pay the Dr. At one point Tri-West/VA wanted me to drive to San Luis Obispo to have the cystoscopy but I was going to have to go there 3 times before he would actually perform the procedure. Twice I’ve had to have emergency surgery at the local hospital because the VA hadn’t scheduled me for the surgery because they didn’t seem to think it was all that important! My local clinic does really great things but the Greater West LA Hospital is a fucking nightmare to deal with. It is more like a slaughterhouse than it is a hospital! And it is a Bureaucratic hellhole!

  37. CHRISTINA M TUITUKU    

    I requested Community Care counseling b/c I am not the least bit comfortable in a group setting. Moreover, I want to finally discuss my MST with a civilian doctor. I never asked the Army or the VA for anything in regard to my suffering from MST. Now nearly 40 yrs after the fact, I want to speak about it. But there are other things, too, which I hope to get sorted out in one-on-one long-term counseling therapy. Guess what? In no uncertain terms, I was flatout denied. Nope. Nada. Zip. If the VA doc denies your request, it’s not like we’ve got any recourse.

  38. Vincent Brown    

    67 and have same problem let me know if you have any luck finding help!!

  39. RICHARD STEPHEN MITCHELL    

    I’m a ‘Senior’ (DOB 5/1/40) with 100 percent, total & permanent disabilities. At home, my wife (DOB 4/10/58) is my Primary Care Provider (ordering & giving me meds; shopping; driving me wherever I need to go (VA, etc.). She can only work part time due to back & foot problems at $10. P/H. She has not served in military service.
    When I am no longer living, what can she expect financially from VA? Dental? Veterans’ Home living/cost?
    When I inquire at VA, I’m informed the policy towards wives change all the time. Is there a policy concerning aging wives of veterans having 100 percent disabilities? Thank you.

    1. Brian Millard    

      Go to HADIT.com and look up DIC. The website has a lot more truthful answers then a VA run site.

  40. Thomas Caulfield    

    I continually have my eligibility through TriCare expires between doctors visits. I get meds prescribed and before I need the prescriptions renewed the VA approval expires and I am left scrambling to makes sure I don’t run out of medications because the VA didn’t reauthorize my doctors visits and the pharmacy won’t release any medications. The VA requires the provider to ask for the reauthorization instead of taking responsibility for coordinating my healthcare. If you get approval for the Choice Program it should not require constant reathorization for every visit.
    The system is terribly managed and places all the stress and authorizations up to the veteran. This is not a good system and it makes my life much more stressful as I get older.

    1. Richard Belanger    

      You have to get her signed up as a dependent at the VA, also as it comes to your compensation at 100%, she will receive 60% of this for the rest of her life, remember to go online and under ebenefits make sure all her info is there and correct. As we say do your homework so admin does throw a wrench into the problem.

  41. David Duane Haynes    

    I applied for VA medical a few years ago and was turned down because … so I was told… I have too much income.

    That doesn’t cut it with me. I am a Navy VETERAN! Everyone I’vetalked to about this say that my income should not even enter into it. I am a 4 year Navy veteran. Yes, I do have insurance. I was applying for veteran coverage just in case I would ever need it. As a veteran, I should be eligible.

    David Duane Haynes
    (redacted)
    Green Valley Arizona. 85614
    (redacted)

    1. William Plaumann    

      David, I looked into applying for medical a few years back also. I’m a 3 year Army Veteran and also have insurance, but was thinking like you that it would be good for a just in case situation. I found out the same thing regarding income. Anyhow, as best as I can tell that was an older application form with the income/asset section on it to see if we would qualify. It’s my understanding that the newer application form may not include that as I have heard from another Veteran. I have not looked into it since to confirm this but maybe we should. I agree, we should be eligible.

    2. Gary Leazenby    

      Eligibility is based on 1 of 2 things; either you qualify because of low income – or you have a service connected injury. For now, that is it. Sorry – but, I do agree with you.

    3. Michael Valdivia    

      A family member in NV is seeing VA Drs and he has high income. He has only to cover a co-pay. Where I am below their income level in WA n am not charged. You should by rights get your VA services.

  42. Jerry L Davidson    

    The VA put me on blood thinners because of heart problems. In the beginning they wanted me to do blood test three times a week until they got the dosage where they wanted it. I complained that I had to drive 90 mi. round trip to get that done. Why couldn’t I go to the local hospital in my home town and have the test done there? The VA said no problem and gave me an authorization letter to do that. That’s when the billing nightmare began! The problem was that my VA ID card said I was in the veterans choice program. I am not in that program. When the diagnostic clinic tried to bill them, the VA turned it down because there is no record of my being in the Veterans Choice group. After a couple hundred phone calls , all I got was to tell the clinic to bill the VA direct. Apparently no one knew how to get that accomplished! Lucky for me the veterans advocate office had a gal who knew what to do. She phoned the clinic and explained how they could get paid. Even now, after getting an extension on my authorization letter, which I showed the clinic here in my hometown the goofballs started sending me the bills again! That being said, I tried to explain to the VA that the problem was my ID card said I belong to veterans choice, which is wrong and could I get a new ID card with the right info on it. I was told that the VA did all the cards that way and basically there was nothing they could do! You’d think somebody in the system has the authority to fix their damn problems but I guess that’d be too much trouble!

  43. Clifford Bates    

    I agree that dental care should be to ALL veterans and not only to the ones with 100%. This is discrimmination against veterans who has served. This policy needs changing. All veterans need dental care!

  44. DJ    

    Complain complain complain. Does anyone have anything good to say about the VA? If you dislike it so much go somewhere else.
    It’s a benefit to go to the VA not s requirement. Yes there are issues but everyplace has them. I’m grateful to have the VA.

    1. doug siddens    

      Yes, the VA does do good work in many cases. If you’re car’s wheel bearings are good except for one which is failing, do you get it fixed or do you let it cause an accident?

  45. Dwayne Everson    

    At least most of you Veterans get health care. I make just a bit over the allowed money so got declined. I guess in hindsight I should of signed up years ago. So my own fault…………….72-76 USN

  46. John Kolp III    

    I believe I meet the new qualifications for the VA Mission Act and would like to be notified when the Act goes into effect. Please contact me as it grows nearer

  47. cris g    

    I was set to a outside heart Dr.. He was from India and his scam was getting VA patients in. Have them sign paper saying they are responisible for payment. Than I had every test including blood work which I did at VA. He wont wait for fax of test and ran them. I failed the stress test and he passed me. After a all day ordeal at his office he told me if I bought his bean bread and his book I could cure myself. I did report him and later received calls from all the tests. I responded by call VA. My diabetic Dr at the VA said his mother went to him and it was a scam. I think VA needs to screen their outsource. I TRUST my prime care Dr. Wish VA would do more outsourcing but screen their Drs

  48. Gerald Faul    

    It’s all 100% lies & the VA is nothing less than a very sick joke / I have no income, no healthcare & no means to survive.

    I’m a white 50 yr. old veteran with 5 yrs. of service that has served Honorably. I was born and raised in this country. I have 8 herniated discs, never smoked, never drank, never used drugs, never committed any crime & never did anything wrong in my life.
    The VA decides who they screw over and pockets the money for our care. They kept telling me I had to be 50 yrs. old before I could get anything because the country was broke & now that I’m 50 yrs old they extended it to 65 yrs old. I have been to dozens of doctors & hospitals, but not anyone will pay for my surgeries so I cannot have any.
    I have contacted all of my state’s representative, congress, dozens of lawyers, both supreme courts & multiple white house administrations. I’m being told that the law does not cover me & I am exempt from protections of the law.
    I have gave the Trump Administration all of the names that screwed me over at the VA & not a single person has got fired.

    1. Agustin Atherley    

      Why you felt obligated to mention ok now the color of your skin. The VA screws over everyone, regardless of skill skin color. Trump uses us as a campaign prop. He has showed us how he feels about us. Take the way he disrespects McCain and even General Mathis, didn’t even go to Arlington for Veteran’s day. Wake up folks.

  49. Cheryl Fellers    

    What about family home care for patients that are 100% service connected Vietnam Veterans and want to stay at home?

  50. David Law    

    I went to the va for a lump on my cheek. Was able to get mri 2 1/2 months I got it. They determine it was a tumor. By time I had the mri it had grown 4 times the size. Told my primary care doctor how much it has grown and it was growing at a 10% rate per week. He did not seem to care. Every time he set up for me to see someone another 8 weeks passed. Imagine this growing 10% per week. I requested to see an outside source finial after 4 months got approve. The end result had to have whole left side of face replaced. What happens to any of them for not taking care of me.NOTHING. I have gone through 18 sessions of radiation and I’m now going through chemo because the cancer has spread. What happens to the Doctor that let this happen NOTHING. You can pass all the laws you want it still alows idiots to be called doctors

  51. Ron Hinkel    

    Both my son and I are vets approved for CHOICE. He especially needs this because he cannot afford to travel some 50 miles to get only spotty care from the VA Medical Center in Augusta. What good is the approval for use of the Choice Program when there is no Choice program where you live? I December 2018 I contacted the Choice coordinator. RN at Charlie Norton VA MC who said there was an ongoing effort to contract out these services by mid-January 2019. I have tried for threes months to get this person to tell me what is going on. No response, no reply, no nothing???

  52. Bill Emilius    

    Dental Coverage is NOT provided by the V.A. The V.A. has 2 Group plans, one thru Delta Dental the other thru Met Life.
    Any veteran can buy either group plan at the Group rate. The rates are comparable to most large Group plans.
    The V.A. web site can link you to both for more information.
    As for regular health care it would seem to me that it would make more sense to allow any vet registered with the V.A. to just carry an ID that can get them care similar to how seniors on Medicare get service.
    Sadly it may never be perfect but it can always be improved..

    1. William Maynard    

      Yes, just let us choose our own providers in civilian facilities.

  53. Sandra Wade    

    I love my VA Medical providers. VA treats me Well.
    American Lake VA hospital,WA State

  54. Michael Walsh    

    I’ve had tennitis since approximately 1977 and it is now so severe it’s driving me crazy. I was active army from December 1972 until January 1974. I had a Top Secret Crypto security clearance until I was honorably discharged in January 1974. Do I qualify for any VA disability?

    1. G. Fred Garnes    

      Go to your local Veterans Service Office to inquire. Also, inquire at your local American Legion or VFW. Often times there are people there who are willing to assist you to get what you deserve. Don’t wait any longer.

  55. Marie Basinger    

    My father in law is 103 and his wife is 100. He served in Pearl Harbor and is a WWII Pearl Harbor Survivor. He and his wife lived in MO, but we finally persuaded them to move to OR so that they will be closer to family. We are still waiting to see if he has been accepted for Aid and Attendance. We started the process in Aug 2018. Each time we call we are told either we have a different form to fill out or that they can’t help us because we filled the first firm out incorrectly. We have filled out so many forms that I suspect He will die before he gets his first rejection Letter. Each and every form we fill out goes to different address. We are so confused that we are about to give up. I doubt he will get any assistance. I sincerly hope that others veterans will be able to get the help then need.

  56. Dennis Norton    

    Thank you VA for the wonderful service through my years
    You are the best!

  57. Stephen Walker    

    Somebody needs to tell Lake City about this.

    In February, they scheduled me for an ortho consult in May.
    I mentioned that was a long wait time, and the guy said I
    wasn’t eligible for Vet Choice due to some “medical necessity”
    mumbo-jumbo–even tho they already knew I have a torn
    rotator cuff.

    Not to mention, Lake City’s over a hundred miles from me…

  58. Sucker Veteran    

    My comment was deleted on the grounds that I could not put in a 4 digit Captcha code. Suffice to say, I explained exactly how this is another example of government misdirection and doubletalk designed to make it look like they are doing something when the fix is in and no VA center will do anything different than they ever have. We treat everything. Your appointment was unavoidably detained. We have a clinic you can use. We only pull teeth, We have a great pharmacy formulary. When we kill the ACA, you will be taken care of. And so forth the bull that we all know and love so well.
    The motto of the entire VA is “Cover Your Butt”

    1. Sucker Veteran    

      My comment is awaiting “censorship’ by the same sort of people that run the VA.

  59. James Hernon    

    It is getting harder and harder for us to make appoints at our closest VA hospital for tests or treatment. We have a 200 mile RT over mostly 2 lane roads through all the small towns so it averages 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours each way. Our closest local clinic is 45 miles away and we don’t qualify for mileage reimbursement. At our ages it is getting more and more difficult to obtain medical care for me. I am 79 and my wife is 77, and she doesn’t qualify for VA assistance. As with many people our ages we are living on SS benefits and money is getting tighter and tighter every year. We have come to rely on Choice Care more and more because we can see doctors that are closer to where we live. I hope these new regulations eases some of this strain but I am concerned about what happens between June of 2019 when Choice Care is no longer available and 2020 when the new plan actually is supposed to be available for us.

  60. Kathy V Brown-Gibson    

    I am 100% service connected. I drive 40 minutes each way to the VA for all my medical. I have a rear form of dystonia and severe cranial vii nerve damage. I have been getting a full mouth dental implants. Due to some time weather or illness I have missed appointments. Because of my facial and vocal muscles from the dystonia and the dentist have to send impression to an outside lab, it is going on two years to get the finish implants. I would like to go to a dentist that have everything on site. How can I just go there and have it completed. Any suggestions?

  61. David Roberson    

    The corrupt Congress should cancel the $15 BILLION PER YEAR of “foreign aid” and put that money into DENTAL CARE for all OUR veterans at the dentist of their choice. Until then, I am advising all of our young male family members NOT to enlist for any U.S. military service, since I had to learn about these lapses and ungrateful treatment of our veterans the hard way.

    1. Annie S Faison    

      Amen. Too much money is spent on foreign aid, especially to Israel and there’s nothing left for the Veterans who have faithfully and courageously served their country.

  62. Gary A Bailey    

    Question – I live about 25 miles from the VA Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, so if I have a heart attack again who should I seek for medical care – the out of VA Cardiologist that I have been seeing since 2006, or a Cardiologist from the VA that I have never seen. I guess to be safe my decision would be the one who has 13 years of my heart health records and so my health insurance will have to pay as well as myself. The VA will never pay for my heart surgery, or care – that’s why I only go to the local clinic for annual eye check ups since my VA cataract surgery.

  63. Mary Lou Laird    

    What about prescriptions? My husband is not having to pay for prescriptions through the VA since he has 60% disability. Will the VA pay if you see a doctor outside the VA?

  64. Roger Culbertson    

    Ah, if only I fit in one of the categories! A trip to my nearest VA is 750 miles! Each way! I recently had to make a 1500 mile round trip just to get ONE prescription. Unfortunately I live ( For the last 30 years) in Mexico. Unfortunately no one ever addresses this situation, and there are thousands of us. Plus comparable health care here is much, much, cheaper than the US. It would amount to a big savings for the VA as well as a huge benefit to me and the other ex-pat veterans.

  65. Don Lagasse    

    If and when you’re sick (very bad cold, breathing problems, flu and/or complications), you should be able to be seen within a day by a doctor and not have to wait 20 days or more for an appointment. Vets should be able to see a Dr. immediately and if the VA cannot see them in such cases, a Vet should have the right to go to a local doctor for treatment.

    1. frank nasso    

      Don, don’t know about the facilities in your area. My hospital here in Boise has walk in clinics for ever one of the team groups.
      If all else fails, the ER is always open.
      Hope this helps

    2. Sandra Wade    

      Most VA hospitals have a walk in clinic to address these issues

    3. Charles Huff    

      People say what they want to say about my VA but I got one thing to tell you on December 26th of 2018 I walked in the VA and didn’t know if I was going to walk out they took such great care of me they were good to me even when I was an a****** yes sir I said it and now I’m breathing better feeling better walking better doing better thank you VA thank you “That DAMN Charlie Huff “

    4. BARBARA J SANDERS    

      You can go to the VA ER. You can also do a walk-in with your primary care physician. If you like sitting on uncomfortable chairs for a very very very very long time. I’ve done both.

    5. Jeff Krause    

      You can just be prepared to pay for it your self maybe maybe not what I was told when thought I was having heart attack

    6. warner    

      Conversation starred.
      Conversation opened. 1 read message.

      This below is a letter I have sent to congressman, a senator, the president and Military Times. Veterans cannot get local healthcare at our local VA medical facility here in Salem, Oregon as it is closed to new patients. Being as we live within 40 miles we get denied to have a doctor to care for us and are forced to drive for an hour or more to Portland, Or. Hopefully the Mission Act will consider than some VA medical facilities are closed to veterans no matter what your problem is, I know first hand. A VA nurse told me she considers what is going on genocide. No doubt people have died due to no care here and I have to figure this is going on all over the country.

      Greetings, I am a veteran living in Salem Oregon and have tried to get a local PCP but have been turned down because they say I have a medical facility too close. Yes it’s five miles but they had over 800 veterans waiting for a doctor as of two years ago. They are not taking new patients. They can’t even keep a full staff of doctors because they keep quitting but I won’t go into why but rest assured it’s a disgrace.

      My main concern is that I have been told that the Choice program requires you to live more than 40 miles from a care facility. Well those of us in Salem do because you can go into the local VA facility with possible pneumonia and they will tell you to make the one hour drive to Portland’s emergency VA facility. We have no place for help. This is first hand knowledge I am giving you as I am the one who went in with breathing problems and a temperature of 101.2!

      The Mission Act must consider those of us who live near a facility but cannot get help there so we don’t get screwed again. I was seriously concerned I may not make it when they turned me away at the local VA facility. We need to make sure that if a veteran cannot get local healthcare from the VA then they are eligible for community care just like everyone else in the country. If you can get this information to the right people many veterans will be grateful. Thank you for your time.

      Warner Holfeld

      1. Thea Gove    

        I’d like to tell you one of my many stories about trying to deal with these 40 mile rules in the Boston VA System. I get my primary care there. I live over 50 miles away. Because of the daily traffic conditions it takes me 2.5+ hours to get there, even at 6am. It’s the same with the 24 Urgent Care which is in West Roxbury. I have been told that I do not qualify for community care because there is a VA facility in Portsmouth NH and in Manchester NH which are both under the 40 mile criteria. Note that these are in NH under the Manchester NH VA System, and my Primary Care is in the Boston VA system. I have a service connected disability. A few years ago I had an emergency situation that had to do with that condition. The VA national after hours phone line told me to go to Manchester NH. A friend drove me. I was told that I would be admitted, so my ride went home. Then I was told that I would be taken by ambulance to Concord NH hospital (not part of VA) because Manchester had no services for my affliction. I had tests done in concord and medication prescribed, but they decided I did not have to be admitted. I was put in a “free” taxi and driven to the Manchester VA. That was as far as they could bring me. I was left in the empty parking lot at 3am and had to find my own way home. To top it off, I couldn’t get my “emergency” medication filled because it had to go through the Boston VA first. I went 2 days without. This is just one of the many situations I have found myself in because the rules say you have to live over 40 miles away from the closest VA. The closest VA to me is in another state and in another VA System. The different VA systems don’t “talk”. For instance, my primary care doctor can’t put in lab orders for me in the Portsmouth VA because she is part of the Boston VA. Yet I get denied every time to go to a community VA because another VA is under 40 miles away. The law doesn’t take into consideration that it is a different VA system and I can’t get the services I need. This new law coming up still looks at the 40 mile rule. It needs to recognize that in some places that takes you to VA systems that aren’t a part of each other. What can I do? The VA in Boston told me (after many different inquiries) every time that “I LIVE IN THE WRONG PLACE”. That is unacceptable and I suffer great hardships and lack of care because of this.

        1. warner    

          Thea, I feel your pain. I have been doing research and am trying to make sure that the Mission Act doesn’t have to same loophole denying thousands of veterans their needed health care. You can call the Committee on Veterans affairs directly and an intelligent competent person will answer the phone. I was given the email address of a person I was told would call me within 48 hours. I’ve once again contacted my congressman and senator and governor but expect the same reaction as last time, nothing. Do a Google on VA healthcare problems. There are journalists who specialize in the VA medical world. Email them. I will be starting that process today. The so called advocates at the VA just want me to go away however leaving numerous veterans to suffer and die I cannot do with good conscious.

          Even if I get nothing out of it myself if I can see to it that no veterans are once again left high and dry like with the Choice program I will be happy. I would actually appreciate it if you would help me and at least contact journalists. So far I am on my own because nobody cares no matter what they say. One of the many people who have called this last week to try to convince me to go away tried to tell me that my area is unique. I have since learned otherwise and already figured the same problem has to be going on all over the country. I am going to work today also to try to see to it that the Mission Act includes everybody whether they live near a facility or not. What is going on at my local facility is awful. It may be a blessing that I can’t go there. Either way I certainly wish you well and maybe we can work to get the government to include everybody this time. I don’t want to make this post any longer due to boring anybody but will check back.

  66. Josh mccullough    

    I have to have shots every month at an outsourced doctor. I was called and told my shots are on hold for 3 months, which sets me way back on this 5 year shot deal. All because the VA isn’t “in network” anymore. This is the 3rd time this has happened. I’m curious as to where they are actually improving things for not just me but for all other veterans out there.

  67. Linda Jean Riley    

    My primary Dr prescribes me treatment for acupuncture and Community Care changes the frequency of my visits. How do they know my medical needs? Who are they to override a Dr’s order??

    1. Ronald Goodwyn    

      I have to agree with you Josh. And when they say we “usually” have an option, that means they can override our decision for treatment at a VA facility which also means we will be placed on a community Care clinic that is already overtaxed. This to me smells of saving money, not veteran’s lives…
      Especially if VA is rated better than outside care facilities according to them.

      1. W. Joseph Peterson    

        They don’t know your medical needs for acupuncture. As an Acupuncturist, I know that each person’s acupuncture needs can vary significantly, even for those with the same diagnosis, as each person is different in so many ways. They think they know, but even two acupuncturists seeing the same person for a medical condition may prescribe different treatment plans depending on the acupuncturist’s training and experience. Are the people who are changing the frequency of your visits trained as doctors or, more specifically, acupuncturists?
        Dr. Peterson

  68. Charles Bennett    

    I am 74 years old with 10% disability and my teeth are full of cavities and I do not have dental insurance. HELP….

    1. Carlo    

      Check your local dental school. Low fees and financial assistant available.

    2. Michael Greystone    

      What state do you live in? If you live in a state that has a dental school, you may be able to call them and ask to be a patient at their dental school. This is a great option for individuals who need dental care who are on a significantly limited budget.

    3. Rock Newman    

      Charles. I’m not sure if you are able to travel to get your dental done but I wanted to make a suggestion for you. I have taken my family to Los Algadones, Mexico to get dental work done three times. This town is across the border for Yuma, Arizona. You can literally park in a lot in the U.S side and walk across or get a few shuttle. Fillings cost around $45, porcelain crowns $190 and root canals around $200. People from all over the U S and Canada go there for dental work. Watch this video and email the lady. She can help walk you thru making arrangements or answering questions. https://youtu.be/cQdQDD6KvX0

    4. W. Joseph Peterson    

      Look up “Smile Faith”. There may be a wait…

    5. Tawanna    

      I’m curious to know why they provide medical and vision but not dental.

    6. Natasha Freeman    

      Hi Mr. Bennett,
      I don’t work for the VA…I’m just a fellow veteran. There are very limited dental benefits with the VA if you don’t have a service connected dental issue. However, Aspen Dental’s Healthy Mouth Movement offers free dental care annually for the past 5 years. They have over 660 offices in 37 states that offer free dental care on or around June 9th. Starting May 1, veterans can call 1-844-277-3646 to find a participating office. Best of luck to you.

    7. Daniel James Beccaria    

      Contact the nearest dental school for info on how to get care. They are usually at no cost or reasonable cost to you,

    8. Aggie Ramsay    

      Charles,
      I’m not sure where you live, but here is an option if you qualify.
      https://www.smilefaith.org/
      Also research volunteer annual free dental clinics for vets. They usually organize them in every state.

    9. Givemthefinger    

      Some of the major dental places have a one day a year for vets to fix your dental problems free ypu need to call ask

    10. Kathleen L Thompson    

      Please read my note about VADIP dental insurance for veterans with MetLife and Delta Dental. They can help you. They helped me.

    11. W. Joseph Peterson    

      Besides being an Acupuncturist, I’m also a Veteran.

  69. CHRISTOPHER NYHAN    

    What quality control measures can the veteran be assured of and I don’t mean the usual “of course” type answer. I recently had an experience where the Dentist was obviously attempting to gouge the VA by prescribing more services than were necessary. When they couldn’t justify why they were prescribing this protocol, they refused to see me anymore and made it look as if I was being confrontational to the VA. I reported them for fraud, waste and abuse but nobody followed up on it. The VA sent me to another dentist who verified these were unnecessary services.

    1. David J. Leavitt    

      Can you report them to the dental version of the AMA.

    2. Karen shaw    

      How did you get approved for dental care outside the VA? I have to commute 2 hours for comprehensive dental care, appointments are more than 30 days out and I was told that the VA does not provide outside dental care. I’m rated at 100%. Thx

    3. Tilo Stanley    

      I am 73 and in the same Boat. In the past, went to Mexico.But with the Fiasco and Crime at the Border,wont risk it anymore.We need some Info about Inexpensive Dental Insurance .

  70. Larry H Anglin    

    I was operated on for cancer in my throat twice, the first time they pulled all my back teeth top and bottom, then told me that I had to go for radiation and I told them I didn’t want that and I ask for them to replace my back teeth so I could eat. They said I didn’t qualify because I didn’t have any dental work done when I came in the Marine Corp. I was 17 years old when I joined the Corp, I just came out of high school, and If you know you have to have all your dental and shots done before you can go to school. If I don’t qualify then why are they allowed to pull my teeth and and not have to replace them. I am no longer able to chew meat and a lot of other foods because of not having back teeth to chew with, I have lost several filling in my front teeth because of trying to chew and brake down food with my front teeth. Also I live 218 mile round trip to get to the VA in Columbia Missouri, 4 hrs and 30 min driving time and then sit for an hour or more to see a doctor for 20 minutes and then have to drive back home. I need my teeth to eat with and to chew my food up so I can swallow it.

    1. R. Michael Maddox    

      Larry H Anglin, If your PCP will indicate that your dental problems are Aggravating other conditions that you are being treated by the VA for, then you qualify for dental. That is how I got dental, when my service status didn’t qualify, per VA. It would be worth trying Sir.

    2. John Ferdig    

      I have the same concern. Back molars pulled because of radiation. Was told because of healing concerns I would not be able to have inserts or would particulate recommended..

  71. Charles R Meyer    

    I can use my VA Choice card with authorization for all my needs except filing for additional claims. Then I am required to use a third party vendor, designated by VA, whom only have remote, and most likely cheapest, physicians to verify my medical status. Why on earth can I not use Choice and see a audiologist in my small town in northern Arizona instead of traveling 125 miles to their network provider. Healthcare is difficult, hiding behind a third party that will guarantee the outcome VA wants, is simply wrong. No thanks again to the nations worst VA facility. If you truly want to see how veterans are mistreated, just visit any Arizona facility.

    Chuck

  72. James Hammons    

    The VA doe not get to choose what is in the best medical interest. The is doctored up summary. The Veterans Administration needs to be put on notice that there will be changes. If the Doctor you are seeing at the VA seems a little disinterested in you and your needs you should be able to choose a different Doctor without having to drive to the next available VA.

  73. Joe & Denise Pridgen    

    We’ve used the choice program since it was implimented. These changed look pretty good. Hope it does improve care. We appreciate the fine care we get. Lots of parts working together.

  74. David    

    the VA has been tremendous for some services and terrible for others. An organization of this size governed the way it is has got to have problems. It would be best if some of the minor services were eliminated so that the major problems that veterans have could be addressed.

  75. Frank Stanley Luczak    

    How can I find out if I am eligible?
    Frank S Luczak
    (redacted)

  76. Joseph Decluette    

    It takes 5 to 6 weeks for me to get an appointment with my local PCP when I have a problem I’m told by my local PCP go to the emergency room when I go to the emergency room it take upwards of two years to get VA to pay for the trip will this help alleviate this problem.

    1. Ron Brown    

      Yes, it should. I’ve had nurses at the VA PCP tell me I have to bring in my private medical records and schedule a hour long appointment. But then I remind them that that was not a requirement last year when I required an MRI and Neurosurgery consult. I also informed them I had studied the Program and what the Community Care Program was for and it was to avoid excessive wait times and lack of expedited cares. And added that I was the Commander of a local American Legion Post and my mission was to aid and assist veterans with this exact type bureaucracy when seeking medical care. The Community Care Program nurse contacted me the next day and said I had been approved and they needed the doctor’s info so they could arrange treatment.

      Listen fellow veterans. Educate yourselves on these programs so that you know how they work. Also, service organizations like the American Legion, AM-VETS, Disabled American Veterans, County Veteran Service Officers and others are willing to assist and provide information. Understand that many VA facilities are sorely understaffed and they try to do the best they can with what they have and the learning curve is high most of the time for new staff. Navigating the VA’s system is very perplexing and painful at times, but instead of pointing fingers at the problem, search out the solution by using these organizations and share them here for others to learn from too.. But if all else fails, write and/or call your Congressman or Senator. Believe me it works!

  77. Clay Farlow    

    why not ask the Veterans about the way things might work for them with healthcare?
    This news is nothing new for people who received a letter stating they qualify for community healthcare because criteria is met.
    This method is actually just kicking the can down the road so the next incompetent decision can be cut and pasted onto this program

  78. charles weinberg sr    

    I see too many older veterans with no teeth so, why is this a problem no one should walk around with any teeth in their mouth it’s sad to see if somebody can only eat applesauce or oatmeal or something soft and not get the correct amount of nutrition because they have no teeth the dental office should not be restricted to only those with 100% disability this is another Factor we got to be open to all veterans is there any way we can Rectify this problem for each and every individual who needs Dental Care

    1. Larry H Anglin    

      Your RIGHT Charles Weinberg I am going threw this problem since I had cancer surgery back when I was 61 and I am still fighting the VA at 73 for this help with my teeth, who pull all of my back teeth top and bottom. They say I don’t qualify because I didn’t have any dental work done when I joined the Marine Corps when I was 17 year old. I didn’t need any dental work then because all of my shots and dental work was done, because I would not be able to go to school; with out this being done before I could get in school.

  79. Peter De Bruyn    

    I have to drive to LA for some treatments 2 1/2 hrs one way. There are local clinics,but treatments are very limited. Will I be eligible for community care?

    1. Type I Calvet    

      You local clinic will insist they can do everything, if only given enough time. It is against the unwritten rules for a local clinic to admit they can’t do anything with their PA’s except open heart surgery. But they will arrange brain surgery to avoid paying for outside services. Medication will be aspirin and Sudafed. Just like active duty. If you buy into any of this nonsense, you just couldn’t get into college and qualify for private insurance. But this comment will never be posted as the fix is in and you are screwed. Your Local Clinic or VA hospital can do anything with nothing. We must build the wall and make you happy.

    2. Kim Mac    

      If you live in California you can apply for Medi-cal anytime as long as you make under $17,000 per year (household size of 1). Or you have a family with children, are a senior, person with disability, pregnant woman, or child in foster care/former foster youth up to age 26. If you are having trouble with the community care I would recommend going the Medi-cal route instead.

  80. Gi joe    

    More garbage no specifics, it is funny how the minute I ask about choice suddenly I am a lepper treated horribly and am told my condition does not warrant immediate surgery all my files are changed.

    1. Tim mcdougall    

      Your local u s congressman or u s senator can be helpful in getting v a issues corrected. Also your patient advocate.
      I had one doc that said the v a can do it cheaper and withheld vets choice. At that time I did not know about congressmen and senators. Sure glad I do now! Mostly it comes down to your PC doc being knowledgable and willing.

      1. Benji Benge    

        The patient advocate here told me it wasn’t her job when I asked how to request a new Dr. after he had stopped doing anything for me to address my ailments aside from prescribe me a med that he shouldn’t have with the other meds I was on from the VA putting me well over the limit for serotonin poisoning. But put in the charts that they were monitoring my levels. I haven’t had labs done for 2+yrs. I’ve talked to other patients of his and he has all but stopped providing care to them as well. The VA needs to quit providing him a check. We should have the right to sue for malpractice. Don’t they take an oath?

  81. A    

    Why must I have approval from the VA to choose where I get my healthcare? The number one problem with this to begin with was that the approval needs to come from the doctors that do not want to admit they are not fulfilling the patents needs. I didn’t read any of the rest because the number one problem with getting appropriate healthcare is the VA saying NO. It should not be up to them. The VA medical center refuses to help me because I had a PTSD episode in my mental health appointment. The said I scraped them and I am no longer allowed to use my local VA hospital to even get an approval. The worst part is getting kicked out of my healthcare because my doctor aggravated my condition… nothing but failure coming from my Veteran Affairs hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania. These changes don’t help anyone of us.

    1. A    

      Corrections to… the docs said I scared them, not scraped

    2. Albert Dziennik    

      BS….my congressman (his assistant), Jodey Arrington told me I should just get used to the level of service provided and stop complaining. I hung up on his dead ass.

  82. Glenn Richardson    

    I would hope they would reconsider the drive time and wait time. Because I live within 5 miles of a VA clinic but my wait time to see my primary care provider could take over 30 days. The veteran should be able to meet one or the other to be seen in the community.

  83. Raymond Petersen    

    I have used outside care and recently it took 5 months to get treatment for my eyes. So much for quick care!!! My request for service was lost due to a computer upgrade I was told and had to file everything all over.

  84. CODY    

    Dental care is rarely covered unless you permit and total, or service connected to your disability

  85. CODY    

    Dental care is rarely covered unless you permit and total, irits connected to your disability .

  86. Rudy E Whitbeck    

    the hospital is 200 mile round trip, there used to be a VA van serviice back to and from the hospital that no longer exists. Does this make this make a difference in travel pay allowance?

  87. Alexander J. Lee    

    Could I just get treatment at a hospital closer to my house? I have a tough time taking out my wheelchair if my girlfriend is not with me. I’m dependent on her to help me with things such as carrying heavy things after shopping or taking out my wheelchair from my car. I also have a power chair but I haven’t used it since I’ve acquired it from the VA. Cannot be hauled on my current vehicle. I also use crutches to assist me, since I have mobility issues. It’s hard enough to walk around since I fatigue very quickly! The VA Regional office in Baltimore is even worse to get to without any help because parking is within the vicinity but still a hike just for me. Wish there were attendants waiting in the garages all over.

    1. Donna Anderson    

      Mr. Lee,
      Look up these two gentlemen, Lou Corona, with Puralive dot com. And Ron and Honey Logan with DoTerra and Nature’s Sunshine. The nutrition information these people have will change your life. You’ll say to yourself, I never knew life could be so good. They’ve changed my life. my nose cancer healed in 3 weeks with just grapes consumed, lots of them. Lou Corona’s Ginger Blast recipe and Gorilla Milk recipe is amazing. Take the time to educate yourself with these people and as a Vet, you’ll be able to take responsibility for your own health and vitality, without fearing the reliability of doctor appointments and medication. I wish I had known this information years ago, but it’s never to late to gain useful knowledge. Good luck, I love every one of my military folks that I served with and we all deserve better. Take care

      1. Mona Smith    

        Do not advertise here please. Most people can not afford these non-FDA approved concoctions anyway.

  88. Caren McCurdy    

    The VA at American Lake WA isn’t accepting new patients- I’m on a month’s-long waiting list just to become a patient. The Community Care folks at American Lake won’t deal with me until I am a ‘patient’.
    I keep getting emails from the VA saying how many specialized services they can offer me; but, when I ask for help, they bar the door.

    1. Johnny Jacobs    

      Go into the ER. Especially if your situation can’t wait. Won’t be the first one to do it, and with the wait times to see a PC, you won’t be the last. A 30 day wait time is bogus. A regular doctor office would work you in, and, the VA should do the same.

    2. Ron Brown    

      CALL YOUR SENATOR IMMEDIATELY!

  89. Terry Penn    

    The VA resists allowing vets private care even if they qualify. Should be like Medicare. If the vet wants to use VA fine. If not, should be able to go to any Dr or hospital that will accept VA payments.

    1. Ron Brown    

      Terry,
      Learn the smarter way to get around their resistance. Learn the program, get to know the gate keepers for your local VA Community Care Program (VACCP) and speak knowledgeable with your PCP or their nurses. Contact VACCP directly to ask questions and sometimes circumvent the resister for faster action. Become an Expediter for your own health cares and you’ll soon be teaching others.

      1. doug siddens    

        My wife has performed the role of advocate, expediter and record keeper. Were it not for her hours and hours spent on the phone and writing letters I probably not be here today. Thank you my wife. But what of the vets who don’t have such a competent, caring person in their life? How does a vet get past ignorant, uncaring, too busy clerks, and doctors? I am very fortunate. How many other vets are left behind by our Veteran’s Administration?

  90. Richard M.Magula    

    I have been traveling to the V.A. IN Wilkes Barre,Pa for over 25 years for continuing health issues!\
    It takes me 45 minutes to make the trip!
    also i have been treating for skin cancers at a dermatologist since the V.A. Does not provide this service! I am presently rated at 100% for disability!
    Will i be able to receive treatment at the dermatologist under the new guidelines?
    Please reply
    Richard M.Magula (last four redacted)

    1. Stephanie R.    

      That’s insane and unfair. My PCP sent a referral to the VA dermatologist just for my acne. I’m only 60%.

    2. Donna Anderson    

      Mr Magula, like I mentioned to Mr. Lee,
      Look up these two gentlemen, Lou Corona, with Puralive dot com. And Ron and Honey Logan with DoTerra and Nature’s Sunshine. The nutrition information these people have will change your life. You’ll say to yourself, I never knew life could be so good. They’ve changed my life. my nose cancer healed in 3 weeks with just grapes consumed, lots of them. Lou Corona’s Ginger Blast recipe and Gorilla Milk recipe is amazing. Take the time to educate yourself with these people and as a Vet, you’ll be able to take responsibility for your own health and vitality, without fearing the reliability of doctor appointments and medication. I wish I had known this information years ago, but it’s never to late to gain useful knowledge. Good luck, I love every one of my military folks that I served with and we all deserve better. Take care

      1. Mona Smith    

        You can be reported for this crap. Cut it out!

  91. Stan Thummel    

    Is the 30 minute rule each direction, or is it counted as a 30 min round trip? It takes me about 25 mins with traffic each way.

  92. Amanda R Bax-Whittle    

    Though I appreciate these steps that are being taken, I have been referred by a VA Medical Provider (my primary care VA doctor) to a community specialty doctor but was required to pay for the appointment by the community provider. Will any of this change?

    1. Rick Martin    

      Amanda, have you been reimbursed? I would think that with proper documentation, your bills should be covered if you were required to pay unless you were seeking more than the VA would allow. For example, I was seen by an outside provider (recommended by the VA) for a necessary vision exam. The screening was covered at no cost to me. However, the glasses that I purchased were outside of those that my service connection choices would allow. Therefore, I paid out-of-pocket for my decision to pick outside of that which the VA would have provided.

    2. Will Schultze    

      I was billed for a civilian endocrinologist appointment. I called the billing company and told them that they should be ashamed to bill a veteran for service, and that when they accepted the referral from the VA, it was understood that the veteran should never be billed for service. I explained that it was part of the deal for getting the referral that they would bill the VA, not the veteran.
      That was several months ago, I have heard nothing further from them.

    3. R. Michael Maddox    

      Amanda R. Bax- Whittle, I f you were sent to the Non VA Provider, you NEVER pay for anything to do with that. UNLESS you are required to make Co Pays under your VA Care. And then you Pay the VA NOT the outside provider. You need to put in a claim for reimbursement ASAP. There is a time line to get paid back.

  93. Dale P Baker    

    This only will work if the higher ups at the VA will let it work
    No incentive for them to have it be a success

  94. Al Rozas 3    

    When will they look at and revamp VA Eligibility criteria? Why does it matter how much money I made last year? Am I less of a veteran? What if I make less this year? It’s an antiquated method and absurd.

  95. Rosalind Queen    

    Is travel to the nearest VA hospital which for me is 100 + miles away to get dental care eligible for this program. Only after a series of complaints that my 100+ dental appointment was made. Does dental care under this program make it eligible?

    1. CODY    

      Dental care is rarely covered unless you permit and total, or service connected to your disability

  96. Susan Carol Lockhart    

    How do we sign up to get this community care?

    1. Glenn Lego    

      Why is this so ? Am I less of a veteran because I have 50% disability?

    2. warner    

      Susan, you have to have your PCP put in the paperwork. If you live near a facility like me and they are closed to new patients as mine is you may get screwed because you live nearby even though they will tell you to go elsewhere. Otherwise hopefully someone will have fixed that loophole in the Choice program so it we don’t get screwed with the Mission Act. They didn’t consider it may be impossible to get a doctor where you live in the Choice program. That’s congress at work. It breaks my heart that so many of us are being stabbed in the back. I may buy a flatbed trailer and put a sign on the back, print out some flyers explaining what is going on at the VA and then park in conspicuous places and talk to people hopefully to help all the veterans who have been screwed to the point of death or suffering. Of all the people for our government to turn their backs on…

    3. Eddie Smith    

      enroll in VA Health Care.

    4. Ron Brown    

      Hi Susan,
      First, there is no longer any viable use for the “Choice” program. With the signing of the Mission Act there is really only one viable program moving forward. It is the VA Community Care Program (VACCP) and it works like this: You contact your Primary Care Provider (PCP) Team and let them know what you need for cares that they cannot provide (ie a specialty consult, surgery, MRI, etc, etc). They will often require you to come in to the PCP before they refer you to VACCP. If the wait to see your PCP is going to be over 30 days, immediately call your local VACCP directly and they will usually authorize seeing a local physician of your choice to replace seeing your VA PCP.

      Your PCP or locally authorized physician will submit to VACCP the request for these specific consults, surgery, and other health services. Then the VACCP will contact you and ask where you want to have this done at. You tell them and they contact your requested designee to authorize the care and then your designee contacts you to set up an appointment. All billing goes to the VA and you may need to remind the private care provider of that when you attend the appointment. You or your private insurance are not to be billed by them. If you do receive a bill, immediately call your VACCP and they will handle it from there. And that’s how the program works. I have used this twice in the last year and it does work like I described it. On the last occasion, I only had to contact my PCP via secure messaging and she put in the approval to VACCP.

      Now starting in June 2019, there will be more objective criteria/eligibility attached with the program and also a new accounting procedure internal to VACCP that may create some temporary growing pains attached with delays, but this to should smooth out over time.

      So going forward, communication with your PCP Healthcare Team is paramount and you can also call your VACCP representative at any time about how the program works, wait times, what they will cover, etc.. Form a good working relationship with your VA care givers, VACCP representative and providers. You may be amazed how well your future cares progress in a positive way. Always understand their playing field too: They are under staffed, under equipped and are trying to serve the largest number of veterans in history with many having the need for specialty and acute cares. This is sort of what many of us veterans had to do accomplishing missions in the military service, so I can empathize with their dilemmas as well. I do know they want to do what is best for us veterans and we need to educate ourselves with their heavily indoctrinated policies and procedures. This way we can better navigate and understand what we can and must do and what they can and must do.

      1. warner    

        To Ron Brown, You say contact your VACCP provider but if you google that you get something having to do with food fraud, nothing to do with the VA. Maybe you could spell it out as google only covers the food fraud. Thank you

      2. Michael Valdivia    

        Ron, why is it that countless Vets who have inquired and searched for answers with the VA as to lack of care, support and services along with the nightmarish bureaucracy that goes with it and only a few like yourself have the possible answers? Why is this “hidden information” not openly available. Could it be because it controls the flow of services provided n therefore budget control?

    5. Ron Brown    

      Hi Susan,
      Eddie is correct in saying that first you must be enrolled in VA Healthcare.

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