Trump Signs VA Choice Program Expansion
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump signed legislation that expands a program that allows VA patients to seek care from private doctors.
The Veterans Choice Improvement Act removes barriers that Congress placed around the original choice initiative. It also eliminates an expiration date that would have shut down the program in August.
Originally, patients could only use the Choice Program if they lived more than 40 miles from the nearest VA hospital or if they couldn’t get an appointment from their local VA facility within 30 days.
Now, veterans can seek care from private doctors if they want to bypass the VA system altogether.
“The choice extension is really important for the future of our veterans because it allows veterans to get the care that they need in the community, while also being able to get the care they need in the VA. This approach, where veterans can get care wherever they need it, really is the way that we’re going to address all the needs and honor our commitments to veterans,” Dr. David Shulkin, Veterans Affairs secretary, said.
Lawmakers created the choice program in 2014 after wait time cover-ups at more than 100 facilities across the country were discovered.
Several veteran groups opposed the expansion, saying that the program favors private care for veterans over improving existing VA facilities.
For more information about the program visit https://www.va.gov/opa/choiceact/.