Donovan, Congress Extend Veterans Choice Program
Washington, DC—April 6, 2017....Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) and the U.S. House of Representatives voted to improve veterans’ access to healthcare by extending the Veterans Choice Program (VCP). The VCP – which is set to expire on August 7, 2017 – allows veterans to receive federally funded treatment from non-VA providers when medical appointment wait times are burdensome or veterans live too far away from VA medical facilities.
Congressman Donovan said, “It’s our responsibility to ensure that veterans – who have sacrificed to protect our freedoms – receive the quality and timely care they need. Extending this program will help ensure that no veteran will be denied care because of backlogs or where they live. I’m proud to vote for this bi-partisan legislation, and I will continue to support reforms that help improve the lives of those who have served our nation.”
This legislation will extend the VCP until 2018. Additionally, the bill makes the VA the primary payer for the program to reduce veterans’ out-of-pocket costs. It also streamlines the exchange of medical records between the VA and private providers to improve care.
The VCP was originally created in 2014 following reports of VA negligence, including the falsification of patient waitlist times and records.
Veterans qualified to take advantage of the VCP include individuals who have waited at least 30 days for an appointment at a VA facility or have to travel more than 40 miles for VA care. The VA has estimated that more than 1 million veterans have received care under the program.
The legislation passed the Senate earlier this week and will now head to the President’s desk for signature.