Trump extends VA's Choice program beyond August

Apr 20, 2017, 08:49
Trump extends VA's Choice program beyond August

Some veterans have criticized the Choice Program for being complex and confusing, and while many congressmen and veterans groups applauded Trump's signing of the bill, they did so with the caveat that the program improves.

This bipartisan legislation comes three years after the scandal in which our country was shocked to learn that dozens of veterans died while waiting for appointments at the Phoenix VA.

"President Trump is upholding the promises he made to veterans and we applaud him for continuing to make them a priority", Lucas said.

But VA Secretary David Shulkin hopes to expand this program nationwide in order to reduce wait times for veterans seeking care.

The Choice program allows some veterans to apply their federal health benefits for care in the private sector, ABC News reported.

"The Veterans Choice Program cuts red tape so veterans can access care more quickly", Tester said.

It's a fix that hasn't fixed much, but the troubled Veterans Choice program has been extended anyway. Congress would have to approve any changes to the VA health system. Cases where a stipend has been cancelled by a veteran's death, at the request of a family member, or due to noncompliance with program rules will still move forward.

"Veterans in need of routine health care services should not have to wait in line for weeks to get an appointment when they can visit community health centers like MinuteClinic to receive timely and convenient care", he said.

The President said next week there will be a news conference to talk about veterans' issues. There are 24 "Minute Clinics" in the Phoenix area, where veterans can go and get immediate care for illnesses and injuries.

Tester is the primary sponsor of the bill that amends the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014. At the same time, he wants the VA to work in partnership by handling all the scheduling and "customer service", something that congressional auditors say could be unwieldy and expensive.