The Department of Veterans Affairs has presented a draft proposal to the House and Senate veterans affairs committees of a potential legislation that seeks to build on veterans’ access to healthcare services.
VA said Monday the proposed Veterans Coordinated Access & Rewarding Experiences Act is meant to replace the current “30-day/40-mile” rule under the Choice Program.
“We want veterans to work with their VA physicians to make informed decisions that are best for their clinical needs, whether in the VA or in the community, and this bill does just that while strengthening VA services at the same time,” said VA Secretary David Shulkin.
The proposal aims to simplify eligibility requirements, facilitate a high-performing network, consolidate clinical and administrative processes, implement new veterans’ care coordination support and modernize community care programs.
VA noted that the wait-time and distance eligibility criteria of the Choice Program will be eliminated with CARE Act criteria that work to give veterans and their physicians leeway in deciding how and where to avail healthcare services, update VA medical facilities and staffing and provide veterans with walk-in clinic options for minor health concerns.
The draft includes a proposal on new workforce tools for VA’s medical staff, enhancements to the Community Care program’s financial management process as well as provisions that would fortify the department’s capacity to collaborate with other federal agencies and streamline authority for real property management.