Durham VA Health Care System prepares to launch new VA health care options

Veterans Community Care Program goes into affect June 6

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will launch its new community care program Thursday implementing portions of the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018 (the MISSION Act), which both ends the Veterans Choice Program and establishes a new Veterans Community Care Program.

The MISSION Act will allow veterans to have more options in their health care decisions.

Under the new Veterans Community Care Program, veterans can now work with their VA health care provider or other VA staff to see if they are eligible to receive community care. Eligibility for community care does not require a veteran to receive that care in the community; veterans can still choose to have VA provide their care. Veterans are eligible to choose to receive care in the community if they meet any of the following six eligibility criteria:

  • A ceteran needs a service not available at any VA medical facility.
  • A veteran lives in a U.S. state or territory without a full-service VA medical facility. 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.
  • A veteran qualifies under the “grandfather” provision related to distance eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program.
  • VA cannot furnish care in a manner that complies within certain designated access standards.
  • The veteran and the referring clinician agree it is in the best medical interest of the veteran to receive community care based on defined factors.
  • VA has determined that a VA medical service line is not providing care in a manner that complies with VA’s standards for quality.

    “We are honored to reaffirm our commitment to America’s veterans,” Paul Crews, Durham VA Health Care System director, said. “Our staff is steadfast in providing health care that meets the needs of our veterans at the right time and place.”

    “We understand any transformation of this size and on such a rapid timeline is not without risk,” Crews said. “We are aiming for excellence in this effort, and we will continue to tweak and improve the process.”

    Durham VA Health Care System serves approximately 70,000 North Carolina veterans every year.

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