VA MISSION Act Making A Difference for Veterans


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When we began implementing the VA MISSION Act this past June, we knew it had the potential to make an enormous positive impact for Veterans. Now, more than six months later, we know that that is the case: With the MISSION Act, VA is helping more Veterans access the care and services they need, when and where they need them.

President Trump signed The Mission Act six months ago.

The MISSION Act is helping more Veterans access the care and services they need, when and where they need them.

One of the biggest accomplishments we’ve achieved under this law is the launch of a new, consolidated community care program. This program uses simplified eligibility standards that are easier for Veterans, their families, VA staff, and community providers to navigate. Our new network now includes 880,000 community providers across the country.

This program also includes a new urgent care benefit that allows Veterans to seek care for minor injuries and illnesses from urgent care clinics that are a part of VA’s contracted network. Since June 6, 2019, we estimate that our network of community urgent care clinics has provided care to Veterans through more than 140,000 visits.

But improving access to community care is just one piece of the puzzle. Under the MISSION Act, VA is now implementing “anywhere to anywhere” telehealth, meaning we can bring provider expertise across state lines and into Veterans’ own living rooms – meeting them where they are. VA recently announced the delivery of telehealth services to more than 900,000 Veterans over 2.6 million episodes of care in fiscal 2019 – an increase of 17% over the previous year. This extraordinary progress gives Veterans more convenient care options without traveling to their provider’s office.

Looking toward the future

The MISSION Act also enables us to look toward the future, giving us more tools to recruit and retain the best health care providers. This year we launched a new scholarship pilot program for Veterans pursuing a medical education through Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Teague-Cranston institutions. The program will help VA recruit the best talent to our ranks by providing scholarship funding in exchange for a commitment to practice with VA for four years. In 2020, this program will welcome 18 Veteran medical students at nine universities across the country. In the coming years, we will also expand our education debt reduction program and roll out new scholarships for other health professionals who aspire to serve the Veteran community.

The provisions of the MISSION Act stretch out to 2034, and our progress will continue. In the next few months we will enhance secure information sharing with community providers, delivering safer, better-coordinated care for Veterans. We have also stood up a new Innovation Center, intensified focus on underserved facilities, started a pilot program to include Veteran peer support in primary care, and will expand our Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers to support Veterans of all eras.

The MISSION Act has augmented VA’s ongoing transformation, and this progress will fuel VA’s leadership of the future of U.S. health care.


Dr. Richard Stone is the executive in charge at the Veterans Health Administration

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. Kobo    

    Good luck with dental as I also wanted to utilize this service and my primary care doc at va “wasnt willing to give me a referral when the disabilities I have affect my dental health. I also called the 1 800 number to va and the rep basically and I’m summarizing here why are you even calling inquiring about dental when you know damn well you dont qualify. You didn’t read the fine print?

    1. Ally A    

      It’s not fair to call it “fine print.” The VA does not offer dental care to most Veterans. That’s not part of the health care they offer. Most civilian health plans don’t include dental. Dental is offered as a separate plan. The VA does provide in house dental to those who are paid at 100% and service connected or “priority level 1” veterans.

      Otherwise, These 100% service connected veterans would have to take from their sole benefits to buy a separate dental plan and pay the Civilian dentist the difference. It really wouldn’t fit their monthly budget. The veterans don’t get enough monthly benefits to afford that. So, those with good teeth would be okay and those who need dental work would choose between homelessness or toothlessness. So, the decision was made that those 100% veterans who are solely dependent on their VA benefits would get dental in-house at the VA.
      Those veterans who receive less than 100% service connected benefits… ARE deemed able to work in some occupation and should buy a dental plan. When they do not choose to do that, or they lose a job, or they spend their money on something else… they can’t blame the VA. The VA did not promise anyone a dental plan.

  2. Greg M    

    I tried for months to get a referral for the Mission Act to use a local Physical Therapy (PT) office instead of driving over an hour to the VA Facility. I showed up for an appointment and they said I was never referred. I called and called the VAMC and still never received the referral. I went to the VAMC twice and asked about the referral and was promised the appointment would be scheduled. It never was. My PCP at the VAMC said it’s all the system and that the Mission Act folks tried to contact me – that NEVER occurred. She also stated that this happens all the time!!! Nothing has improved with care. Instead I had to drive 45 minutes away and pay for a private PT clinic to render the care and self medicate. As far as the care at the VMAC emergency room – absolutely terrible. The Dr was the rudest Dr. I have ever met with my wife as my witness. The lies about how great things are at VHA/Mission Act seem to me more of the same politics and no better care !

  3. William Luginbuhl    

    I have read the comments here and have to say that both in Toledo, Ohio and here in Illinois I haven’t experienced what you people are talking about. I now use the Hines V.A. system and am more than pleased with the level of care I have received. the whole medical staff, from the doctors and nurses to the orderlies have been fantastic. I’ve not had a problem with any of them. As for this new level I can only hope that it will as well as Hines has.

  4. Grant Barnard    

    Yep, “same pig, different lipstick”. I would love to use the Mission Act as designed and promised, but the first time I try, I get the same problems: might take longer than the 5 week wait at VA to get an ultrasound; Dr. doesn’t buy into it; no one seems to know if my local clinic is on the list of providers.
    Where is all this congressionally funded money going, anyway?
    The local providers don’t trust the VA, for good reason…they get the runaround and often get low reimbursements. My local clinic will serve me anyway cuz their idea of providing means just that.
    I hope all these valid complaints and stories make it to the Senators and Representatives and President who all pushed to make the Act happen.

  5. Ronald White    

    I know that we all have a story where the VA has screwed us over. I’m not trying to diminish that at all. In fact if someone would actually do something about all of our complaints, then something might actually get done to help us. As long as they continue to add new “programs” to “fix” the VA, nothing will change. My short story is the it took 3 months for the Mission Program to work for me. By the time they contacted me for an appointment, I had already gone to the DOC and paid for it out of my own pocket. I was sold another bill of goods from the VA. Use the Mission Program they said. It will be great they said. So the VA salesperson talked me into agreeing to use it and now I don’t even know who to call to try and get another appointment.

  6. Maryriver    

    I had to wait months for authorization to have a heart valve replaced and months to have a macular hole repaired – so long that I lost vision in the eye and the hole could not be repaired. Understaffing, incompetence, and just plain rudeness are all I get..

  7. Harry E Peters    

    Sounds real nice and like someone is doing things to help. But all it has done is added confusion to the process and as a result nothing gets done and nothing is a timely manner. We have to justify to a contractor and then set with someone that knows nothing of my condition or situation . And the contractor justifies what they do by saying that they are just following VA requirements,! For needed prescriptions = forget it.

  8. Cynthia Davis    

    Seems BILLING is a ROYAL MESS. I’m 100% service related and after DECADES of neglect and low to no care I got desperate and insisted I needed help as I could barely function. 2 stents later and them telling my son I “probably had 3 months” if it hadn’t been done followed by a huge increase in blood pressure they et up an “emergency button” for me and a couple months later I woke up ill and with chest pain – stupidly pressed that button. Next thing I know an ambulance rew had shown up and took me to the nearest hospital as the VA is 2 hours away. They ran tests told me I “was done” and shoved me out the door. My son had to take off work drive 2 hours and get me to take me home. Months later a bill for the ambulance shows up with a sticker on it saying it was submitted to my provider and it was NOT a bill… a couple months later another shows along with another bill from a Dr at another hospital demanding payment. I contacted the Kansas City VA and asked and am now terrified that they not only are giving me a convoluted run around but are REFUSING TO PAY either bill and no matter who I talk with or what I do it is just getting worse to the point I’m having nonstop panic attacks and probably will NEVER use another Ambulance again for fear that I’ll be put through the same kind of torture that I’m going through now. I spent a 20 year career risking everything and being exposed to some of the nastiest things on earth believing that IF that caught up with me Id at least be able to get care. IT WAS A LIE. I went for decades with no real care and finally the DAV and VFW helped enough to get my rating. Unfortunately, CHAMPUS refused care once I’d retired from service, TRICARE PRIME was TEMPORARY PROMISE THAT LAST SUMMER I WAS TOLD TO KEEP PAYING FOR IT BUT I NO LONGER HAD A PCP – or care for that matter as well as the copay tripling since I signed up for that – I’m 6 months out from 65 and medicare/ Tricare for Life from what I understand but honestly don’t trust that it’ll be there for me either and for good reason from what I’m reading here. So, I’m Facing nearly $1,000 in ambulance and 1 Dr bill and probably more if VA continues to NOT PAY for the emergency call. My advice DON’T accept or use that “help button” and expect Every excuse under the sun to be used to DENY COVERAGE if you do.

  9. Jay Crawford    

    The Mission Act isn’t working. I have been waiting two months for an appointment after having a condition for six months. I was told I had 1000 telephone calls ahead but I better not miss their call or it would be hard to connect.
    Add to this the stall to Vietnam vets on Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions while VA staff get pay increases makes one wonder???

  10. Richard G Kensinger    

    According to the VA IG the wait time for private care is 2 months and will become even more protracted I am a former AF ER medic, serving from 1969~1973. I conduct clinical research on combat trauma dating back to the Korean Conflict. Vets I’ve interviewed are more satisfied w/ physical health care than they are behavioral healthcare. Many of the comments above suggest that this is a very pertinent topic.
    Rich

  11. Amy M Elder    

    Over the last year, I have been trying to work with the local VA to get a medical facility for primary, orthopedic, and epilepsy closer to my new home in Alco, AR that I moved to from Baltimore, MD. Their answer has been that I have to first get a primary with their facility that is 2 hours drive away from my home, that is three VA facilities that are all 2+ hours away from my home. My epilepsy clinic back in Baltimore has been trying to get me a telehealth, as I have not been able to find a local epilepsy or seizure clinic to keep up with my medications, since I have to have the prescription renewed approximately every 6 months. I cannot afford to pay for primary or orthopedics on my own with a mortgage and bills to pay, not including groceries and minor needs for three medical service dogs.

    It was bad enough back in Baltimore that they missed the Ovarian Cancer I had, to the point where I had to go to another Hospital when the tumor ruptured and was diagnosed, then had me in surgery within the week. Saving my life and after 6 years I still am in remission, without the VA ever truly acknowledging their place in ignoring my condition and attributing the ruptured tumor to obesity that I only needed to see a nutrition councilor.

    I don’t want another situation like that to happen, since I was lucky at that point to have had a wonderful doctor who used my surgery as a student test, thus allowing me to not have to pay anything when the insurance was finished paying most of the cost. I had to fight with the VA to get the prescriptions from that doctor for post-surgery care.

    I am in the middle of a benefit claim. I haven’t been able to work since 2008. I am 100% disabled and unemployable by Social Security, but the VA continues to deny that I am unemployable, even with my doctors and therapists in Baltimore, MD writing letters and providing medical evidence saying that I cannot work any gainful employment.

    This is just me. My husband, a US Marine, has PTSD, severe depression, distrust of the Va from being attacked by doctors and security when asking about medications for conditions before agreeing to taking them. Each time I was there and it was insane how they reacted to queries about medications. My husband is always wary since he doesn’t want medications with high addiction percentages.

  12. Cindy searcy    

    Sorry for all the problems all of you have had. My husband is a Vietnam veteran he started using the VA healthcare system recently. He has not experienced the problems all of you have mentioned. The local VA here have been very helpful in his transition from private/employer health insurance.
    It was helpful that he brought all of his health information to his new doctor so they could go over healthcare and prescriptions he was taking. One thing we have realized over the years is you have ask questions and be involved.

  13. Guy Anderson    

    Good morning Question about transplants under mission act. can a veteran who has both Tricare and medicare and needs a lung transplant use this program? VA only has two places that do Lung transplants in the nation one at Mason and the other is Settle so I live in El Paso west texas I want to know if medicare and Tricare covers my Lung Transplant (Then why can’t Va cover my housing and travel ?) the closest place for me is Phx Az st Joesph 6 hours. I do not fly because Anxiety and oxygen requirement so it 20 hours straight drive to a VA assigned location for transplant for the lungs. Now, if I go to Mason or Settle VA Plays for Transplant and Housing and travel I can’t seem to get an answer from VA that makes sense here. The government pays for medical coverage from VA, Medicare, And Tricare. It would seem to me Va could save money by paying for my Housing and travel while I am working to get on the waiting list for lungs. then after the lung transplant, they only have to pay for travel and housing no cost for follow up at lung transplant hospital because it covers under medicare and trice care. Just so you know Dallas, Houston, and Denver or over 9 hours away these are other Lung Transplant locations. Thank you for your time.

  14. Charles Statkus    

    For the last 15 years every time I needed health care and the local VA (both in Florida and now in Wisconsin) could not provide it in a timely manner the “Non-VA” department would step in and get Civilian Medical to provide the service. That was even before the “Choice” program came to be. Now that President Trump got involved there is a new layer of bureaucracy in place. It is called TriCare.

    Non-VA care contracted with a Civilian Surgeon to operate on my spine in May of 2018. Non-VA Care kept renewing the contract for continued medical care. After TriCare came on scene my PCP told me that the Civilian Surgeon was grandfathered in. Since I went into Navy Ship Boilers to clean firesides and went into voids at the bottom of ships to paint them I developed Claustrophobia. I needed a MRI and went berserk in the machine. Non-VA Care contracted an upright MRI organization and I have had multiple MRIs through them. Now that TriCare is in control and the MRI organization that non-VA Care used is not in TriCare’s Network, Non-VA Care can no longer use them. The Civilian Surgeon requested a MRI to determine if the hardware he added to my back can be removed in August of 2019. TriCare contracted a Hospital in their Network to provide a MRI with sedation. The hospital refused to schedule the MRI with sedation because my PCP did not have privileges at the Hospital. In September of 2019 I invoked the VA Patient Advocate.

    Initially the VA Customer Care representative told me not to use the VA for my health care and to blame President Trump for the problem. Currently there is an unpaid bill that the Hospital told me that they are sending to collections. VA Customer Care tells me that the Hospital did not sent the bill to TriCare and the Hospital is telling me that TriCare has refused to pay the bill. The VA Patient Advocate is looking into this latest problem.

    I documented this whole mess in the VA Secure messaging System between my VA PCP and the VA Patient Advocate.

    Tell me how I did not lose my VA benefits!

  15. Mike Schwartz    

    Does the VA ‘Big Boss’ read these reviews? Probably not …on the golf course!

  16. A Waddell    

    The Hampton VA states that a community care referral takes two to three weeks to process and THEN they will call you to try to schedule an appointment at an outside provider. That policy defeats the purpose of the whole program.

    If you would like to see evidence of this policy please feel free to contact me. I have a paper directly from the Hampton VA with their process and contacts.

  17. Earl Pederson    

    Trying to use the VA as a traveling vet is a joke!!!!!!! If you stay at your home VA you might be ok but if your a “snow bird” FORGET IT!!!!!!!!!!! To tell the truth even using your local VA is a joke if you have Medicare your better off using that!!!!!!!!!

    1. Ronald White    

      Agreed Earl. I work on the road a lot and can never get appointments.

  18. Dave Lucas    

    I live in Ocala FL..
    I go to the villages VA. I have been here 8 months and have had great service. Now with this new program and the influx of Snow Birding The system is overwhelmed. I need chiropractic services which the VA provides and also physical therapy. There is a 6 month waiting period due to the outsourced provider Community Care which is understaffed and totally not able to provide timely effective services
    I use MyhealthyVET to communicate with my team and have in the past received a maximum of 24 hr. response.I am still waiting for a response from two weeks ago.I also received someone else’s meds. I have called and messaged them about this and again no response. I do believe My healthevet is also being outsourced.
    If you know of a way I can choose another way to get the medical help I need such as local Neurologist or physical therapist and chiropractor. Contact me today I have been in extreme pain for the last 8 weeks.

  19. Richard Johnson    

    Had heart attack recently and was in a private hospital because of emergency. Trying to coordinate with the VA afterwards (I’m 80% VA service connected) was extremely problematic! Passed from office to office but it turns out that it’s all about paying for prescriptions. VA doesn’t want to pay for what the doctor wants me to have, they want me on cheaper drugs. The Community Care office in Orlando had a 57 minute phone wait and in Minneapolis was passed from office to office.

  20. Jane Roberts    

    When I was honorably discharged in 1987, I was given a choice to have VA medical care or to sign up for Medicare. I assumed VA medical care would be better than Medicare. In the last 10 years, VA healthcare just keeps getting worse every year so I decided to sign up for Medicare when I turned 65. Medicare tells me I have a penalty for not signing up for Medicare back in 1986 and for the rest of my life I have to pay Medicare premium of $450.00. I cannot afford it! So here I am, older and several health problems. I was told by VA Cardiologist at the VA Clinic in Evansville Indiana that I need to have a TEE heart test asap and they will refer me. I haven’t heard anything and with it being almost 3 weeks, I called the VA in Marion Illinois TriWest and gave them a local Cardiologist name and contact information and was told I would have an appointment within a week and I have not heard from the VA about the referral. The local Cardiologist told my family all they need is a referral and I will be treated since they treat other Veterans as well. wish me luck because I am going to call Marion Illinois again to find out what the delay is and remind them the VA Cardiologist indicated the heart test should be done asap. Hopefully I will not have another stroke before I can be seen! Also the Community Care for Veterans is only 3 visits per year at a CVS Pharmacy! No x-ray or lab can be done at a drugstore! My dog gets better care at the Vetenarians office! My dental care is non existent as well. I had 2 strokes and still cannot get a local Doctor to take care of me! The VA Doctor at Evansville told me I have to see a Neurologist for my restless legs syndrome and refused to let me have medication refills prescribed by her so I do not like my VA Dr at the Clinic I have moved from a different state and always got refills of the medication from my VA Doctors!

  21. Ihans    

    These comments are the reason I don ‘t use the VA any more, now see no reason to see about community services either. So I will stick with the more exspensive, thanks to the DOD, TRICARE for life. WhY a joke!!

  22. Woodrow Huey Owenby    

    Let me try again. Comments in my first attempt disappeared when I selected post.
    I have no idea if the comments posted here are read, but here it goes: My VA Medical provider is CAVHS in Little Rock AR. Under the Choice act I could see a LOCAL doctor when I need care for an episode of High Blood Pressure (Less than two miles). Under the Mission Act the nearest Urgent Care locations listed is 38.6 miles, the shortest of 3 routes listed on VA link to Google Maps. The distance from my house is closer to 50 miles; Google must be using as the crow flies. I’ve drive to the town, they have not. My wife has limited mobility due to health conditions and no longer able to drive. Under the Choice act I could ask a neighbor to assist for a short time for me to be seen. Under the Mission Act, not so: CAVHS is 77 miles from home. Should the earlier mentioned episode still allows me to drive, by the time I get her packed to travel, the longer trip to CAVHS would be an easier trip compared to the route options on the curving back roads of Arkansas. OPINION: The Mission Act reduced the Rural AREA Veteran’s healthcare options NOT IMPROVE them.

  23. Woodrow Huey Owenby    

    I have no idea if comments left here are read by VA so here we go: My VA Healthcare provide is CAVHS in Little Rock. Under the Choice Act I was allowed to see a LOCAL Doctor when I had an episode of High Blood Pressure. (Less than two miles from home) Under the Mission Act the nearest clinic is according to VA.GOV & Google Maps is 38.6 miles away the shorter of 3 route options…Google must be as the crow flies: in reality closer to 50 miles away. I have driven to the town before they have not. My wife has limited mobility because of her declining health and as her care provider. Under the Choice Act I had the option to ask a neighbor to stay with her a short time while getting LOCAL care. NOW rather than “Just pack her up” and drive 50 miles, might as well go to CAVHS; it’s only 25 miles. Sometimes what looks GOOD ON PAPER, is not always an improvement. OPINION: For the Veterans living in Rural areas The Choice Act was a step back.

  24. Simms Shirley    

    I agree with other comments about dental everyone who serviced under honorable conditions should be allowed to utilize the dental families. Also I have some family members who serviced in the National al Guard I still don’t understand why they do not have the option of being treated at the VA facilities
    My nephew serviced 6 years under the National guard I think back than they should have been told before they enlisted there time that unless they did a certain amount of time that they would not be treated once they got ouT. I think that they still stepped up and serviced time this is not right. Let’s make a change and gave them the respect that they deserve.

  25. JOHN R ARMSTRONG    

    The VA still doesn’t get it, the Mission is to help vets get proper health care ,,Period.. The Best place for that is in the vets Own Community ,,without some BS rule ..The VA does Not Recognize ,and will not pay or okay a Veteran wanting to stay in their Own Community for All Their Health Care..The VA delivers the cheapest cost per veteran , and that is rule #1 .,,Do Not approve Community Health Care ,JUST LIKE MOST OF THE PEOPLE in this country does every day,,but Not the good ole boy’s running the VA.. And finally this ,,,the people charged with providing Health Care and running the VA,,,ACT like the veterans are spending THEIR MONEY, not even hardly , it’s the Tax Payer’s Money that pays ,,Not the Fat Cats running the VA..

  26. Richard Hoffman    

    I agree with you Malinda Moore – I am a 100% service connected Veteran and the VA will not treat me with the quality healthcare us IRAQ Veterans were promised when returning from theater. I suffer every day (I don’t know how much longer I can endure this). For 12 years they treated me for pain. I had some quality of life then. But ever since they changed the rules about pain treatment, that was the beginning of my nightmare. You would not believe the horrible treatment I have received at the VA . I even started a Veterans help site on facebook – Concerns for the Healthcare of US Veterans – Please check it out. We are losing about 22 Veterans a day to suicide. This is Unacceptable!

  27. Herman Coleson    

    I have Medicare, a Supplement, Part D and I am 100% Service Related. I don’t feel like I can take a chance. I am trying to go through the “Choice or whatever??” program for glasses and it’s may be less trouble to go the 2 plus hour drive. “They” have promised a local clinic that will include an optometrist in 2 years, but I’m a Vietnam Vet and time is running out for me.

  28. Gail Gutierrez    

    I need a hip replacement. Appt just to get seen was close to 60 days. I asked about getting a referral to an outside orthopedic surgeon & was told it takes about 90 days. I need a shoulder injection it was going to take from my Jan call to April to get the first appt. I can’t wait. The pain is too great. So I’m using my Medicare & Tricare for Life to see ortho outside the va system. I got appt w/in the week & 2 weeks per issue. I’m scheduled for surgery before the ortho evaluation of my hip.

    I’ve read these reviews. There is an obvious problem. After reading these reviews I wouldn’t chance using an outside provider expecting the VA TO PAY & I get stuck w/a bill.

    I have used the nurse triage line twice & had excellent results from the triage & pharmacy Rx called in to a pharmacy that accepts VA charge.

  29. Patrick McDonald    

    Back in 2015 I was referred to the Veteran Choice Program. I received quality care from an outside provider and hospital. The only complaint I have was all administrative. I kept getting bills from the hospital, anesthesiologists, doctor and nursing home. The VA wanted to know how I was seeing the cost for treatment from several vendors. I told them they are taking me to collections for non payment. I met with someone and she told me she could take care of this bill but the others have to go to Virginia. She didn’t know where the other bills went. Eventually all my bills were paid for. I was very happy with my treatment from a non-VA provider.

  30. Gary Whittley    

    I have been 100% for over twenty five years now VA has paid for my emergency room treatment four times in the past I had a broken back then six broken ribs then a heat problem and they paid for all of it .Recently I had a full knee replacement through TriWest and an emergency room treatment for fivev stiches bellow my right eye and they have paid for all of it including phyical therapy for sixteen weeks .

  31. Jon    

    This is the biggest CF they’ve done yet. Everything was fine for me in the Veterans Choice Program, if I needed to see a regular doctor or specialist or get a CT done all I had to do is call Tri-West Health care Alliance and they made it happen. With this Mission Act/Community Care Program you have to get a PCP at the VA hospital, then if you want to start seeing a civilian PCP it has to be approved by the VA hospital PCP. If you need to see a civilian specialist you have to contact the VA hospital PCP to request it, then they refer the request to a specialist at the VA hospital, if and only if the VA hospital specialist approves the care request you get to see a civilian specialist if they don’t approve it then you can only see a specialist at the VA hospital which defeats the purpose of the Mission Act Program. Not to mention you have to be seen occasionally at the VA hospital PCP even if you have a civilian PCP through the Mission Act Program. They should have just left the other program in place because as usual the VA hospital people don’t know what to do or who to contact so you can get things done and you end up taking longer to finally get care. Tri-West had their stuff together.

    1. George Perasso    

      Tri West no longer runs it. The new company has destroyed the care process. Write to the SEC of VA Affairs and complain!

  32. George Perasso    

    I live in DE. The Mission Act ladies are so understaffed it’s crazy. You can’t reach them on the phone. The best bet is to drive over and speak to them in person but you may wait 30 minutes. The dental people have told me that it’s hard to get dentists to join in. It took me several months to get dental approval. The dentist was great but he told me he may drop out. The reason is the VA takes too long to pay and pays very little. Doctors tell me the same thing.
    The Mission Act at face is a great sounding program but it’s broken. Takes way too long to get hooked up. Some guys tell me they use Medicare, as it’s quicker and they don’t want to deal with the VA’s BS. I hope they fix it but should stop bragging about how great it is for us veterans. GBA & GBOT

    1. Mike Lewis    

      My doctor placed an order for me for Community Care on Dec.20, 2019. I finally got the order scheduled today on Jan 23, 2020. The schedulers don’t answer their phones and at times they do not have a service to leave a message.

  33. John Doe    

    Does anyone actually expect the VA to admit failure? Anyone who has ever utilized a modern physician’s office/medical facility will instantly realize that the VA is at least 20 years behind the times.

  34. Heather Abbe    

    I moved to a different state around the time the Mission Act came into effect. I’m not sure which it is (possibly a combination of both) but since I have been receiving care in Utah, I have had wonderful care. I live about 2 hours from a VA facility, other than the community clinic, so all the care I have gotten is community based. There have been no issues getting the care I need.
    Unfortunately, I think a lot has to do with you VA PCP. If they are willing to file the paperwork to get you community based care, you’ll get it. If they aren’t, you won’t.
    I wish blessings on all my fellow veterans and hope you get the best care you can. You deserve it!

  35. Sandra    

    The Mission Act sounds good at face value, but the reality is that it takes 3 wks. for the Portland, OR VA to authorize a procedure, and then another 10 days before the Community Care Dept. responds before making an appointment, let alone the wait for the provider to be able to schedule a procedure. The amount of time that it takes the VA to authorize and get it to Community Care is much, much worse since the Mission Act was passed. It took 4 mos. to finally receive a procedure that in the meanwhile caused me a great deal of daily pain and depression, and poor quality of life. It turns out now, 4 1/2 mos. later that my spine doctor recommends further treatment because my pain is not alleviated. So add another month to this back and nerve pain that started Mother’s Day 2019, which was not alleviated by 2 mos. of wasted time in physical therapy and endless waiting . . .. and waiting. . . and waiting
    Sandy

    1. Gina Guynes    

      I got better and faster service before The Mission Act. All I had to do was call TriWest and bam, I had authorization, appointments, etc. Now, my PCP has to put in a request to Community Care, then they have to authorize it, send it to TriWest, then I get a phone call about my schedule preferences, and finally, I get a call from TriWest with a schedule. It takes soooo much longer now, and it does get frustrating.

  36. TINA McCool    

    Community Care, I believe to have a medical appointment has become more rigid and difficult, with less communication to confirm an appointment. Hours are short (8-3pm) and if I can’t take the call on demand, my order is canceled. I use to work through the Healthevet Application and coordinate now I’m denied. I have to work during these hours. Taking time off is not an option to create an appointment.

  37. David C Sharpe    

    The mission act is a failure. I am seen in Columbus, GA. The Houston Clinic and West Georgia Eye used to see VA patients. Now, because of TriWest administering the program, neither the Houston Clinic nor West Georgia Eye will not see VA patients. I was referred to neurosurgeon and non in Columbus, GA take VA so I had to go all the way to Montgomery, AL to see a neurologist. He referred me to The Center for Pain and I could not be seen because my referral was “specifically” for the neurosurgeon. They were so helpful and also frustrated at trying to get TriWest to respond to them so they could get me the epidural and the facet block and finally called me and said I was on my own. She said it is sad that TriWest does not respond to them because the neurosurgeon is proud to take care of the veterans but TriWest is about to cause them to stop seeing VA patients.

  38. Irwin Malamud    

    This new Mission Program is BS. Especially if you use TRIWEST. They are a private contractor, probably making millions of $$$$ from the VA & providing piss poor service. In 2020 they still can not use e-mails to provide information. I could write a book on how poorly TRIWEST has performed in just getting me a hearing test. The VA is getting ripped off by using TRIWEST

  39. jonathan turner    

    When you phone to VA, the first thing you hear…”if you are thinking of suicide, hang up and call the suicide line”. Second thing you hear is “…if this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911”. 7 months ago, while I was lying on the floor in a semi-conscious state, after going into shock from approx 75 fire ant bites, my wife dialed 911, ambulance took me to hospital where I was treated and later released. Today I received a “final notice” before being turned over to a credit collection agency for not paying the hospital bill. It appears VA refused to pay and said it did not “qualify”. I am 100% VA disabled vet. Good luck to anyone with VA healthcare. Please, if you go to an approved community care center, get in writing that they are “approved” by VA.

  40. William Rodriguez    

    One failing is your primary care doctor has to re-generate the documents every 6 months. I have been trying for over a month to get my primary care doctor to begin the second set of documents for the doctor I was able to see thanks to the program with no success. This is a flaw that should be addressed as, unless the veteran moves within the range specified under the Mission Act, it appears a needless step and if the primary care doctor does not feel the need to complete the documents, the veteran cannot use the facility and then has to return to the primary care doctor or pay for the closer facility.

    I asked TriWest [the third party provider] to ask for advice on the issue and received a rude response “if you primary care doctor does not initiate the documents for continued care, you can pay yourself, go back to the primary care, or just do without care, thank you and have a nice day. then the individual hung up on me.

    While the intent is beneficial, this is a flaw and some of the individuals in the system should so a bit of thinking on whether they wish to work with veterans, or other individuals as when someone is asking for assistance, giving rude answers and hanging up on the caller is not helpful.

  41. Mario E Urrusuno    

    I live literally around the corner from a Hospital and all sorts of medical facilities yet i have to drive over 2 hours to Seattle to go to the VA hospital.
    I had a seizure 4 days ago and i have been trying to get an appointment to go to my VA provider in Bellevue WA.
    I was told to go to Concentra which is a clinic down the street.They will check my vitals and send me home what good is that?
    rediculous…..
    This is basic bullsht.Nothings changes same crap different name.

  42. Robert v.    

    I would agree with many of the comments posted here. The VA does have a list of urgent care in the veterans area which can be found on va.gov, but good luck having the va pay the bill as I’ve come to experience.

    Good luck with dental as I also wanted to utilize this service and my primary care doc at va “wasnt willing to give me a referral when the disabilities I have affect my dental health. I also called the 1 800 number to va and the rep basically and I’m summarizing here why are you even calling inquiring about dental when you know damn well you dont qualify. You didn’t read the fine print?

    I’ve been referred to rheumatology in community care and tried west calls and asks for my availability twice now we’ve tried this community care referral and now twice they’ve not called back to schedule an appointment. This has been going on since sept of 19. Meanwhile disability claim denied because there is no evidence supporting…well because I can’t get seen.

    There seems to be a lot of kicking the can down the road and band siding just so the va has some semblance of helping. Meanwhile we go without care, without advocacy, without timely appointments, without assistance (proper assistance) in filing disability claims and on and on.

    Don’t even want to mention the mental health physicians…omg they just shove drugs at you. I’ve wanted to see an outside provider for mental health, but no dice.

    If they want to improve veterans care and make it easier for veterans to get care then they should be asking the very people they are saying they want to help for advice on how to make it more efficient.

    I’ve met some fabulous workers at my va hospital, but the system they are asked to utilize for veterans care is far from fixed.

    1. Bob Hill    

      Same pig different lipstick. Meanwhile I get sent to collection cause VA don’t pay.

    2. Bob Hill    

      Won’t accept my negative comments.

    3. Walter A Radziszewski III    

      No providers in my local area here in Connecticut. Had more luck with the choice care.

    4. Raymond L Brown    

      I have had great care from the VA. Sometimes things get crossed up but I just get proactive and start making things happen. I am in control of the my health. The VHA has nothing to do with getting disability. You have to go through a VSO, I personally have used DAV for all my claims, easy-peasey. Most importantly you won’t open ears with a big mouth. No health professionals will help you if you treat them like do-do. As far as civilian health care, I always choose the VA facilities first. The VA understands veteran needs way better, like dentists. Yes, for dental care you have to have a rated service connected disability that include your teeth, or be 100% VA disabled, or be 100% by IU that permanently disables you even when your rating is less than 100%. Hope this is helpful.

      1. Raymond L Brown    

        Try talking to the VA advocate at your VA hospital about bad and/or untimely experiences. They are the ones that can help advocate change.

      2. Ronald White    

        Raymond, how do I get an appointment so I can use my open ears. I work for a living and only have limited time. I waited for 3 months for the Mission program folks to call me to set up an appointment. I couldn’t take the pain any longer so I went to a regular Doc and paid out of pocket for my service related stuff. Still paying for the meds out of pocket. I don’t have a DAV locally. Well, I do but he only works like 2 days a week in some makeshift office. As far as making a claim all of the vacation time that I had to spend going to get evaluated was wasted. I have been denied for an increase so I am still paying for the meds out of pocket.

  43. George Greer    

    I live 65 miles from my Loma Linda VA vacility and about 10 miles from the VA clinic on Baxter St in Murrieta.
    My VA cardiologist is in Loma Linda.
    Is it possible, under the Mission Act, to see a qualified cardiologist closer to home in Temecula, CA?

    1. Raymond L Brown    

      Ask if you can utilize telehealth. Get any testing (EKG, bloodworketc.) the need done at a local hospital or CBOC.

  44. Susan Webber    

    This is total BS! The program has changed names and rules so many times that nobody knows what’s going on. It takes MONTHS to get a referral and only if the vet can navigate the red tape to request one. And who do we send the bills to that VA doesn’t pay when the program is used? My husband is a Purple Heart Vietnam vet with a 90% disability rating and is supposed to be able to use emergency facilities outside the VA when necessary. But they won’t pay the bills and our credit is being ruined with bills going to collections. Not to mention docs who refuse to treat him because they don’t get paid. So sick of these happy talk stories and posts that everything is fixed. T h e only thing that matters to VA employees is keeping their jobs and to hell with the veterans.

    1. Audrey Skarness    

      Oh, but they have GREAT reviews!!…by non-Veterans!!

  45. Malinda Moore    

    Wish they allowed veterans who have less then 100%disability to be allowed to use the va dental clinics there are thousands of us that are not able to use the va dental clinics and we cant afford dental insurance so we have to suffer and thats not right having poor dental care leads to all kinds of other medical problems that the va will take care of but they will not help prevent it

    1. larry lynch    

      agree with you, i am in same boat. 500. bill sent to collections- i aint paying it- everything originated at the va dr’s office- an all i hear is – yer in the va system – it wont cost you a penny…. but when the bills start coming — nobody knows who you are and no one has any answers– well guess what –i still aint gonna pay that 500. bill and yes it is in collections..

    2. Debra Brown    

      Same problem my 100% disabled husband is having. The VA didn’t provide the surgery he needed so we used choice to use a local surgeon who did. Now they will not paid and no one knows anything at the VA hospital because the rules keep changing. We are now having to make payments so our credit will not be ruined. Very frustrating!

  46. Oscar Cortinas    

    You should have a list of urgent care clinics for us vet. Not all care clinics take vet.

    1. Raymond L Brown    

      Google: VA Urgent Care Locator

  47. Paula Minger    

    The expansion of the 2010 POST 9/11 Vets w PTSD (90%) caregiver stipend missed every deadline.

    With 800 WWII Korean &Vietnam dying each day they really can’t wait any longer. 8 years has been enough.

    A physically wounded PRE 9/11 Veteran is as important as a a young healthy vet still driving, cooking shopping etc etc.but claims PTSD so severe they need a wife as a Caregiver

    1. Chris    

      Yeah let the 9/11 Veterans snowball so their life’s are complete shit too. That is really intelligent thinking. The few times I have gone to a v/a to be seen by the physician the assistant met with me. FOR HEAD PILL COCKTAILS. After taking a trip to the state in 2012. The waiting room was always full of the Veterans you say need to be bumped up. Well they are. Your problem is the same as my problem and it is because the system needs accountability and funding. 10 years later I am seeing a private doc and filing a claim for the first time. Some days still feel like leaving.
      USMC 3/4 OIF & OEF

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