The Veterans Choice Program was created as a temporary fix in 2014 to solve a problem: In many cases, Veterans Health Administration wait times were way too long. Veterans who live 40 miles from a VA facility or have experienced wait times greater than 30 days can now see private doctors in their community instead.
But it’s unclear whether Veterans Choice has improved wait times.
A Government Accountability Office report released in June showed veterans can wait up to 70 days for care when using the Choice Program, and there was an average 51-day wait in late 2016.
In June, President Trump signed a new bill to overhaul veteran health care, called the VA Mission Act. Among the changes: It dissolves the existing community care model, which includes seven different programs, and replaces it with one united program. With a $5.2 billion booster shot from Congress, Veterans Choice will remain in effect until the new consolidated program kicks in.
Proponents say the VA Mission Act will fix a complicated bureaucracy and connect more veterans to medical care quickly and efficiently.
We want to know: How has the medical experience been for veterans in the private sector?
Are you a VA patient who has gotten private medical care through the Choice Program? Have you been referred to a private doctor or health care provider by the VA? Please share your story with veterans and military reporter Libby Denkmann.
We’ll read every response, but nothing is published without your permission.