September 24, 2018

President Signs VA Mission Act Into Law, Extends VA Choice Program

09 June 2018, 12:55 | Silvia Roy

President Signs VA Mission Act Into Law, Extends VA Choice Program

President Trump signs bill to give veterans expanded access to private health care options

Cassidy said in a press release that he is trying to push the VA to open up non-transplant care to more veterans.

Trump frequently touts his support of veterans and members of the armed services, promising during the campaign to fix VA and give more veterans access to private health care.

"The VICTOR Act is a critical step forward in ensuring transplant care through the VA meets our veterans' medical needs", Dunn, who served as an Army surgeon, said after the vote in November.

"I compared it to putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound", said Burch.

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It allows veterans to see private doctors when they do not receive the treatment they expect, with the approval of a VA provider.

The legislation would also expand a caregivers program to cover families of veterans of all eras, not just those injured in the line of duty since 2001. Warning of "virtually unlimited increases" in veterans care spending, the Trump administration argued in a memo circulated to lawmakers that added costs to the newly expanded private care program should be paid for by cutting spending elsewhere at VA. He warned that failing to provide new funding "would jeopardize the health care and well-being of our veterans".

The legislation had the support of almost 40 major veterans groups, who in a letter before the bill passed the House described it as a "major step" toward the goal of ensuring timely and seamless health care for veterans.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, Alabama Republican, is leading the group that seeks a separate spending stream to fund the VA Mission Act.

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Many veterans have moved from the Northeast to other parts of the country.

The number of in-hospital complications and adverse events following surgeries remains a concern for the scandal-ridden Phoenix-area veterans health system, according to a new government report.

But the shift to greater outsourcing - arguably the top White House priority for veterans - has been controversial.

The legislation would create a presidentially appointed commission to review the closure of underperforming VA facilities. VA has said its medical facilities are "often 40 percent better in terms of wait times" compared with the private sector.

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The VA Mission Act aims to develop a high-performance integrated care network by establishing a new community care program, improving physician payment processes, developing education resources for veterans seeking care, and setting patient safety guidelines for opioid prescriptions. At The Washington Post, she has written about the federal workforce, state politics and government in Annapolis, Md., and in Richmond; local government in Fairfax County, Va. and the redevelopment of Washington and its neighborhoods.

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