New veterans community care rules scheduled for June

New community care standards granting veterans access to private-sector health care will be in place this June, regardless of ongoing concerns. According to an article published by MilitaryTimes.com, the new veterans community care rules, also known as Veterans “choice” , is happening in 10 weeks, unless Congress can find a way to stop it.

Veterans eligible for Veterans “choice” will include those who live more than 30 minutes from a Veterans Affairs medical clinic or face a wait of more than 20 days for most health care appointments. According to the February federal register, this move could triple the number of veterans eligible for private care.

The updated standards for specialty care would mean that veterans would have a 60-minute-drive or 28-day wait standard instead of the 40-mile and 30-day guidelines currently in place. These new rules give veterans the flexibility to pick the best health care options for their situation, but many assume that they will still stick with the VA care they’re already using.

However, Democrats have expressed a number of concerns about the outside care expansion including it’s implicated costs. This week, 55 of those lawmakers sent a seven-page letter to VA officials detailing concerns over the new rules were and their potential impact.

Additionally, veterans groups have expressed other concerns about the specifics, as well, and urged VA officials not to move ahead too quickly with the updates. Officials from the Veterans of Foreign Wars said the VA still needs to fine tune its standards for private care quality and communicate the advantages of VA care to veterans. Disabled American Veterans this week called for “withdrawing the current proposed rule and swiftly replacing it with a new proposed regulation based on more realistic, feasible and sustainable access and quality standards.”

To learn more about these updates to veterans community care rules, click here.