President Trump signs bill extending ‘choice’ program for veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Trump has signed a bill that expands and extends a program that allows veterans to seek care outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs system.

Originally set to expire this year, the Veterans Choice Improvement Act was created in 2014 after a scandal involving cover-ups at VA facilities nationwide.

The program offers a choice to qualifying veterans that lets them see private doctors if they want to bypass the VA’s medical care system.

Patients can use the choice program if they lived more than 40 miles from a VA hospital or can’t get an appointment within the span of 30 days.

The bill signed by President Trump Wednesday extends the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 past the original sunset date of August 2017. It also makes the VA the primary payer for medical care relating to non-service connected disabilities and allows the VA to share medical information with non-VA entities.

At the signing of S. 544, the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act, President Trump said, “This new law is a good start, but there is still much work to do.  We will fight each and every day to deliver the long-awaited reforms our veterans deserve, and to protect those who have so courageously protected each and every one of us.”

 

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