ICYMI: #ExploreVA Facebook Live Event on the MISSION Act

Representatives from VA and the Veteran Community went LIVE to discuss this month’s changes to Veterans health care. Click on the video and turn up your volume!

The MISSION Act will strengthen the nationwide VA Health Care System by empowering Veterans with more health care options. But what are these options and how is eligibility determined? Recently leaders from Wounded Warrior Project, American Legion and AMVETS joined Dr. Jennifer MacDonald, MISSION Act Lead for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and Dr. Kameron Matthews, Deputy Undersecretary for Community Care, to discuss these health care changes and what Veterans must do to access them during a #ExploreVA Facebook Live event.

Chanin Nuntavong, Director of Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation for American Legion, began the discussion by asking the VA representatives to explain the MISSION Act and how it will impact Veteran care. Dr. MacDonald answered by saying that this is legislation VA welcomes.

“It strengthens VA, and it strengthens our ability to deliver the right care at the right place in the right time.”

She went on to say that Veterans will see an increase in telehealth, the ability to bring care right into their living rooms, and streamlined community care programs, all of which should increase access to care close to home.

Jose Ramos, a Legislative Director for Wounded Warrior Project, asked if Veteran’s must do anything to re-establish eligibility in order to continue seeing the same VA providers they see now.

Dr. MacDonald assured Mr. Ramos that Veterans would be able to continue seeing the same care teams that they see now. Dr. Matthews added that to access care in the community, the first step is to consult your VA care team to determine eligibility.

“There is no additional enrollment. Once you are enrolled in VA and once you work with your care team you will just have increased ability to access the community in order to meet your needs.”

Sherman Gillums, Chief Advocacy Officer for AMVETS said that by now many Veterans have received a letter and brochure from VA. He went on to ask, “On June 6th a lot’s going to happen, but when I walk into a VA medical facility what are those additional benefits that I should see?”

Dr. MacDonald urged Veterans to use the VA brochure and website as primary resources to answer questions.

www.MISSIONAct.va.gov that’s where the most updated information will be…and importantly that VA brochure discusses a new urgent care benefit  that gives Veterans the ability to seek urgent care close to their home, as long as they’ve have used VA care in the past 24 months.”

Dr. Matthews underscored the value of the new urgent care benefit but emphasized that the urgent care provider must be one of VA’s contracted providers which can be located by contacting your VA care team or using VA’s locator tool.

There were over a thousand comments and questions from Veterans on the post.  If you missed this event, check out some of the highlights below.

Facebook Live Q&A 1








Facebook like screenshot 3






Some Veterans wanted a copy of the MISSION Act brochure.

Facebook Live Q&A screenshot 4





Others wanted to know more about VA’s telehealth programs.

Facebook Live Q&A 5a










Facebook Live screenshot 5b










Veterans asked for more information about eligibility and if disability ratings made an impact.

Facebook Live Q&A 6







Several Veterans had questions about whether authorizations given under the choice program would stand.

Facebook Live Q&A 7










Representatives directed Veterans to their VA care team as a first step.

Facebook Live Q&A screenshot 8






Representatives shared information about what to do in case of emergency.

Screenshot 9 from Facebook Live Q&A







Thank you to all Veterans, service members and their supporters who participated in the event. Stay tuned to the ExploreVA events page for information about upcoming events.

For more details about VA benefits and how to apply, visit Explore.VA.gov.

Watch the full video above or visit VA’s Facebook page.


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/


  1. SSS    

    Is there an ongoing problem transitioning from triwest to care in the community, when having to locate and appoint a new PCP? One of the problems I foresee is monthly medications if another PCP is not found in a timely manner.

  2. Joseph Kennette MacPherson    

    I am an 80% service-connected disabled veteran. I live in Thailand, and received a benefits letter from the Foreign Medical Program that reduces my earned benefits from full healthcare to just what is listed as service-connected. Now that veterans in the U.S. are able to use community-care options instead of VA hospitals far away ( I am very familar, having lived in Bend Oregon and required to travel 164 miles one way to Portland for care when i lived there), the earned benefits for Veterans living abroad has been reduced. I applaud the MISSION Act, but i also want Veterans overseas to have the same rights as Veterans living within the U.S. There is no reason why our healthcare shouldn’t be the same, especially considering healthcare anywhere outside of the U.S. is LESS EXPENSIVE. Why shouldn’t we get our full benefits? I would like to hear a reasonable answer to this question.

    1. Reginald Joules    

      I live in Texas, but I agree that your question is logical, worthy of a reasonable answer. I hope you get one from VA. My guess is that VA’s concern may be potential fraud, and the effort involved in investigating fraud in other countries.

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