Mission Act to expand veteran health care launches

Alicia Farmer
June 8, 2019

They're also eligible if the VA can't provide a primary care or mental health appointment within 20 days, or specialty appointments within 28 days.

Starting Thursday, U.S. veterans will be granted expanded access to medical care outside Department of Veterans Affairs as part of a law signed previous year by President Donald Trump.

Other guidelines are more straight-forward. Specifically, this would apply to veterans living in Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire and the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 3.

In the new rule, the VA acknowledged those budgetary concerns and noted that use of private care is voluntary for veterans under the program.

It's my priority as the Ranking Member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to oversee the VA's implementation of this new law.

The new law doesn't require veterans to do anything differently if they want to keep seeing their current doctor or receiving the care they do now. Veterans served by Lebanon VAMC may call the MISSION Act Call Center at 717-272-6621 and press 6 or visit the MISSION Act information table located in the Building 17 Lobby during normal business hours through the end of June.

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A veteran qualifies under the "grandfather" provision related to distance eligibility under the Veterans Choice Program.

From October 2014 to March 2017, Hampton officials reported a 48 percent increase in veterans seeking care outside the VA.

The workload also became more complex, as VA Choice required staff to coordinate with a third party to make referrals outside the system. Despite increasing eligibility for community care, the VA states they do not expect the program to deplete their budget.

To learn more about the program, go to www.missionact.va.gov.

Non-VA providers hope the program will improve their ability to share patient data with VA facilities and receive timely payment for serving veterans. That address is for general questions, not confidential queries about a specific case.

Twenty days for primary care, mental health care and noninstitutional extended care services, unless the veteran agrees to a later date in consultation with his or her VA health care provider.

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