VA launches new healthcare options for veterans

VA launches new healthcare options for veterans

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Department of Veteran’s Affairs rolled out its new healthcare system Thursday.

The MISSION Act now allows veterans to go to non-VA urgent cares and clinics at VA expense without prior approval.

The change is considered by some as the biggest shift in the American healthcare system since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

The MISSION Act is now impacting the lives of millions of veterans in our country.

“Everybody won't find it beneficial to see community care providers that may want to keep their care here, but they have the choice to see providers on the outside in our network,” said Maria Roman, associate group practice manager.

The new rules rolled out Thursday cuts down on veterans' wait time and drive time to be seen.

The VA will now pay for veterans to see non-VA doctors if they have to wait longer than 20 days or drive more than 30 minutes for primary or mental health care at a VA facility.

The VA will also foot the bill for a private care specialist if the veteran has to wait longer than 28 days or drive more than an hour to see a VA provider.

“We are making sure that we have full access for the patients to receive their care and if they can’t get it here directly at the VA in certain amount of time they can always go out to the community to our network providers receive their care,” said Roman.

It's expected to be a fairly seamless transition.

Already, patients can search online for community care providers in their area.

In response to the changes, Memphis VA Medical Center Director David K. Dunning said,

"This is a pivotal time for VA. We are strengthening VA health care and empowering the Veterans we serve with more care options."

The Department of Veteran's Affairs estimated 1.7 million veterans used some form of private care during the 2018 fiscal year.

Under the new MISSION Act department projection that number could increase as much as 30 percent.

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