What is the Veterans Choice Program?
In 2014, the VA put in place the Veterans Access Choice Accountability Act (VACCA). This law expanded the number of options veterans have for receiving care to ensure that veterans have access to high-quality care. The veterans Choice Program is available for veterans so that they are able to receive care from a community provider and the good news is that this care is all paid for through the VA.
There is nothing more important than taking care of your health and getting the treatment that you need for your disabling condition. Veterans who are seeking VA disability compensation should know that medical evidence to help support their claims is vital to a successful claim. One of the biggest complaints we hear from veterans, time and time again is that they are not able to get an appointment at their local VA Medical Center in time or they live too far from a VA facility. This can be extremely frustrating and discouraging for any veteran wanting to establish treatment or any veteran who needs quality medical care quickly.
How Do I Qualify for the Veterans Choice Program?
In order for a veteran to be able to use the Veteran Choice Program, they need to first receive consent from the VA to receive care from a provider that is a part of the Veterans Choice Program. This means that the veteran must first meet the eligibility requirements for the Veteran Choice Program. To check if you are eligible for health care through the Veterans Choice Program click this link.
Here are some of the specifics for eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program based on the following:
- The veteran who lives more than 40 miles (in driving distance) from the nearest VA medical facility with a full-time primary care physician.
- The VA cannot provide the services that the veteran requires.
- The VA cannot make an appointment for the veteran at the nearest VA medical facility within 30 days of the veteran’s preferred date or within 30 days of the date that is determined medically necessary by their physician.
- The veteran has to travel by air, boat, or ferry to get to the nearest VA medical facility.
- The veteran faces an excessive burden in traveling to the nearest VA facility (to include environment or a health issue that would make it difficult to travel or geographic challenges). Some examples of this include: traveling around a large body of water, over a mountain or the needs to navigate a similar geographic region; or the trip to the closest VA medical facility is blocked by traffic condition such as a road that is inaccessible
Other Eligibility Requirements for this Program
Also, in order to be eligible for this program, a veteran must be enrolled in VA health care and meet one or more of the above criteria. The staff at the veteran’s local medical facility will work with a veteran in need to ultimately determine if he or she is eligible. A veteran’s specific health care needs, as well as the nature and frequency of the care that is needed, will also be taken into consideration for eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program.
The VA is constantly looking for a way to improve its overall functionality and make health care easily accessible to veterans in need. If you are a veteran who may meet the eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program, it may be a good idea to take advantage of this program and obtain the medical treatment you need.