The Department of Veterans Affairs today announced proposed rules for determining which veterans would be able to seek medical care in the private sector starting this summer -- their eligibility guidelines based on drive times and appointment waiting periods that could significantly expand the number of veterans seen outside the VA.
The VA Mission Act required the department to consolidate its private-sector care programs into a comprehensive community-care system that will provide veterans access to private health care networks under certain circumstances.
The criteria established by the law included access for veterans who live in a state without a VA medical center, who can’t access needed treatments at the VA, who have special medical needs, or who live more than 40 miles from a VA medical center.
The law also stipulated that veterans who meet certain standards for access to care developed by the VA could opt to use the network instead of going to a VA medical center or clinic.
Those access standards, announced Wednesday by VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, are based on driving times and appointment wait times.