U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today praised unanimous U.S. Senate passage of the Veterans Choice Program Improvement Act. The legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.). The bill would preserve the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Choice Program, which would help to ensure veterans have access to timely care in their own communities.
“Our nation’s veterans deserve access to timely, quality healthcare wherever they call home,” Sen. Moran said. “The VA’s failure to implement the Choice Program as Congress intended has resulted in thousands of Kansas veterans still struggling to receive care. This legislation would improve the Choice Program by streamlining the processes between the VA and community providers – reducing the burden on veterans and the providers who serve them.”
The Veterans Choice Program Improvement Act would allow the VA to access all of the funding initially appropriated for the Veterans Choice Program, and make certain that veterans’ access to care isn’t disrupted by the looming sunset of the program. The Veterans Choice Program is scheduled to sunset on Aug. 7, 2017, and currently veterans aren’t able to schedule appointments that fall after that expiration date.
The legislation would also authorize the VA to be the primary payer under the Veterans Choice Program, reducing veterans’ out-of-pocket costs and aligning the Veterans Choice Program with the VA’s other community care programs. Further, the bill would improve the sharing of medical records between the VA and community providers in the Veterans Choice Program to better coordinate care for veterans and connect them to timely care.