Click on the image to RSVP for the Hangout

On Thursday, June 25 at 2:30EST experts from VA will be hosting a Google Hangout on the Veterans Choice Program which allows eligible Veterans to get health care in the community from non-VA doctors.

The conversation will include:

  • Eligibility requirements
  • How to find a provider and make a Choice Program appointment
  • What happens after your Choice Program appointment
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about the Choice Program? Ask your question in the comments and we might answer them live on air!

RSVP for the Google Hangout here.

If you need immediate assistance with the Choice Program, please call 866-606-8198.





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Published on Jun. 19, 2015

Estimated reading time is 0.6 min.

Views to date: 236


  1. LARRY C COLLINS July 1, 2015 at 2:31 pm


  2. Jessica Egge June 25, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    How is Choice First used for patients who cannot travel due to health problems? Many of our patients travel 3 or more hours to receive audiology services. We previously used Non-VA Care for these veterans, but we have been instructed to use Choice First instead. I’m a VA audiologist, so we have to receive ear impressions from outside providers and order hearing aids, then mail the hearing aids to the outside provider. My understanding is that the Choice First program eliminates the contact between VA providers and non-VA providers. How do the non-VA providers inform us what needs to be ordered? How do they receive the hearing aids for fitting? The hearing aid settings will then not be stored in our system, so will all future hearing aid adjustments need to be performed by the outside provider?

  3. Commander Bill Manofsky USN(ret) June 25, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    The Youtube commentators are leaving out some critical points…

    1. If the veteran has Medicare A, Medicare B, and Medicare A/B, and or Tricare, they are not eligible for the VCC program.

    2. They have not adressed the issue of Emergency care. Emergency room visits and Emergency visits to a doctors office do not need prior approval.

  4. John Thrippleton June 25, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I have found that this choice program is a farce. When you call them there is a cannot do attitude and they are unwilling to help whether you need local care because your VA appointment is 3 months away or you have to travel 3 hours to the VA for that appointment. My Primary care is less than 40 miles so they seem to think that I am not eligible because I have a VA Clinic less than 40 miles. It is the specialty care that is more than 40 miles and they will not listen to you. They can be rude, uncaring and very unhelpful. Most of the care I get from the VA has been very good but I have to travel 3 hr. to get to the Hospital and that is in heavy traffic. They should stop this choice program if they are not going to help us get local care.
    Personally the VA should close all the hospitals except the ones that take care of major problems and administer health care like a insurance provider. Let us decide where to go to get care. Pay on benefit bases with other insurance like they do now and let us get care without jumping through all these hoops.

  5. George Tidwell June 25, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Question. If a veteran who separated with four years of military service in 2008 and served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan applies for VHA benefits and is approved for enrollment; would they be eligible for the Choice Card even though the VA’s current enrollment rules would not show him as a Combat Veteran?

  6. Max Halm June 25, 2015 at 11:45 am

    1) How do I go about finding a provider?
    2) How does one go about making an appointment?
    3) Who/What number should a veteran call with issues they are experiencing?
    4) Do veterans need to opt-in to participate in the Choice program?

  7. William Peterson June 25, 2015 at 11:05 am

    This program is a complete disaster for the veterans and their families. The only people cheering this program are politicians, upper management at the VA, and the company providing the service. The VA should audit this company and provide congress the companies view of success and they should also get the veterans view of success. This program is a complete waste of tax payers money and it is dihonest to say this program provides honest health care to the veteran. The VA (Bob Mcdonald) should tell congress this is a waste of tax payers money and make congress to their jobs and fix this. I know this will never get done and the American people will be lied to when the high paying officials claim “Look at what we are doing for our veterans, they deserve the best health care”. In closing Bob Mcdonald please do the right thing NOW for the veterans and tax payers..

  8. June 25, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I have hundreds of patients scheduled over 30 days from the CID and over 120 patients that are currently on an Electronic Wait List. My patients that are scheduled +30 days are having problem when they call Veterans Choice. They are being told that do not have their information and that the patient has to contact the Clinic to have them put in the consult for Veterans Choice. My understanding is that the VA Hospital is to send all patients scheduled +30 days to Veterans Choice so that if and when the veteran calls they will have their information. As it stand My EWL patients are getting in to see outside providers before my patients that have appointments because the EWL patients get directly routed to VC. Only 15 of over 200 patients have apparently accepted VC per my hospital VC people. What is the solution to this problem? Can we have all appointments that are +30 days from the CID directly routed to VC? If not, who should I be talking to in order to have all my patients sent to VC?

  9. Richard Ellwood June 25, 2015 at 12:53 am

    I would love more information on eligibility and benefits. And specifically information on how, as a Retired Veteran of Desert Storm, I can get help with a severe hearing loss and how to avail myself of hearing aids provided by the VA in Orlando Florida.

  10. Harold Fredrickson June 24, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    I have the Veterans Choice card and have no idea how it works. I have talked with my local county VA office and he was certainly no help at all. Several weeks ago I had a medical emergency. I called my local clinic and set up an appointment for the next day. I got a call back telling me I needed to go to the ER at our local hospital. They ran a few test and told me I had to get to the VA in Minneapolis to see a Urologist. I headed over there the next day, a 220 mile round trip!!! I needed surgery and have been back five times!!! Should I have been asked about the VC card or was that my responsibility? Difficult when one does not know how the system works. Traveling 220 miles a day is becoming a hardship. Every time I have been there I have stopped at the VC desk but there is never anyone there to answer questions!
    There needs to be something in place to walk veterans through this process,people who are qualified and friendly. I am just feeling frustrated.

  11. Robert J Reiley June 24, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Why has the VA made 0 effort to inform providers of the Choice programs? Up until very recently there were no providers in SW Iowa, except for the Council Bluffs area.
    I am 80 miles from the Omaha or Des Moines VAMC. Since April 4 I have been trying to get a problem with my foot resolved. Finally on May 15th I got into the Cass County Clinic to see a podiatrist. He says surgery is required. Wants an MRI. I had to go back to Choice and get that approved. I didn’t get the MRI till June 12. Now I have to see a would nurse. I didn’t even bother to go through Choice for that. I now have an appointment July 2 with the Podiatrist. He will want to do surgery. Am I going to have to go back to Choice to get that approved? Another month? In effect what should have taken a week is now at the 4 month mark and counting. Does not give me a good feeling.

  12. Rigel Randolph June 24, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    In attempting to RSVP to this event, I get an error message that asks me to enable a few settings. When I check those settings, they are already enabled.

    We are attempting to set up a conference room within our local VA Hospital so that veterans and employees may attend this Google Hangout Event.

    Who is providing IT Support for this meeting so that local VA Hospitals can ensure access to this event on station?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Megan Moloney June 25, 2015 at 12:18 pm


      If you’re not able to login to the event on Google+, check — we’ll have the live feed playing there as well.


  13. Erik Duwe June 24, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    The Veterans Choice Hotline is routinely telling their callers to contact 877-WAR-VETS (877-927-8387) to further answer their CHOICE questions; 877-WAR-VETS is a 24/7 Mental Health Resource for combat veterans. The Choice Hotline is adding unnecessary frustration to our Veterans by giving them bad information and further delaying the Vets’ medical care.

  14. Crystal Spellman June 24, 2015 at 10:56 am

    I had a temporary assignment with the Veteran Choice program, which I think could work well for Vets if it worked properly. However, what I experienced were Vets waiting longger to see Non-VA providers then the waiting time to see VA providers. The Company Maximus who over see the daily functions of The Veterans Choice Program hire incompetent employees who really didn’t care if employees are trained properly or if the VETs were able to get appointments in a timely manner with Non-VA providrs. While I was hired to answer Vet calls, I was told in the middle of a call to stop what I was doing, to set up appointments for Veterans who had been waiting sometimes of to months to get the care they needed. While trying ton convience doctors to see these Vets, they would either hang up on us or tell me they had not been paid from previous appointments. When we did make appointments and had to call the Veterans to let them know, they would tell us that they would rather keep their appointment with the VA or get upset because we waited so long to appoint them with a doctor. Very few empoyees in Management at Maximus were of professional staue, and they simply did not care. It is my stong beleif that this contract should be outsource to another company, that in the very least should be given to Vets who are not employed.

  15. Tami Burkey June 24, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Need to know what the co-pays will be for the veterans using this program and for the different circumstances that may be available. So for example a SCV with insurance, a SCV without insurance, 100% SCV, etc. Veterans are afraid to use this choice because they do not know what their cost will be and they are hearing about bad experiences by others.

  16. Rebecca McLain June 23, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    why does it take so long to get an appointment? I waited 3 months just for Vet Choice to approve a request for an appointment and they kept saying it was the VA fault. Then they never paid my doctor so I had to switch to another doctor and that was a month and a half wait. Isn’t the reason Vet Choice was given 10 billion dollars was so they could get us appointments faster? 5-7 days just a guideline that everyone tossed out the window right away? I was approved for an appointment for physical therapy 2 months ago and when I called to see why I still don’t have an actual appointment to go they said it wasn’t an emergency and the scheduling department was backed up so they can’t say when I will have an appointment but if I want to pay for it myself I can get faster service on my own. Ummmmm really? Why do we have a program that’s just as bad as the service from the original program? I am still waiting on my physical therapy appointment as well as a podiatry appointment but like I was informed 2 weeks ago, “it’s not an emergency”

  17. Clayton Vagnini June 23, 2015 at 11:02 am

    My name is Clay Vagnini and I’ve been in the VA Healthcare System for 20 years. The care that I have been getting is wonderful, so wonderful that I chose not to go under Medicare at age 65 but, stay with the VA.

    The rules, according to the Veterans Choice Card office at the White River Junction VA Hospital, say that if the Veteran lives beyond 40 miles from the nearest VA Medical Facility then the Vet qualifies for private local medical care. (I spoke to Herman, ext 5717 at the WRJ VA Hospital)

    I live in Milton Vt which is 110 miles from the VA Hospital in White River Junction. I would go to that facility to get a Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening (or any other specialized procedure).

    BUT because I live 24 miles from the VA Burlington Lakeside Community Based Outpatient Clinic (where my primary care physician sees me), I DO NOT qualify based on the mileage rule which states “from the nearest VA medical facility”. It doesn’t matter that the facility doesn’t offer the procedure needed by the Vet.

    Here’s a list of all the community VA clinics in Vermont. Any Veteran living within 40 miles of these clinics do not qualify and have to go to White River Junction.

    Bennington Community Based Outpatient Clinic
    Brattleboro Community Based Outpatient Clinic
    Burlington Lakeside Community Based Outpatient Clinic
    Rutland Community Based Outpatient Clinic

    All these clinics fall under the White River Junction VA Medical Center, referring all specialized testing/procedures to it.

    Most of the Veterans I know feel the same way I do, the VA care we receive is outstanding. That is not the reason we have not opted for the Choice Card. The reason is under the mileage rules, we don’t qualify!

    I can also tell you that two months ago, in Florida where I had cataract surgery under the Choice program, I lived 24 miles from two VA community based clinics. I would have had to go to the Biloxi Ms VA Medical Center (180 miles away) had I not been approved. Why are there different interpretations based on Regional locations?

    • Ralph Maddox June 24, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      Clayton, if you don’t qualify due to mileage you may still qualify if your facility does not offer the services you require. This is what I was finally informed yesterday. It is Called “The Choice First Program”. Call the VA Choice phone number and tell them you are interested in this program because the VA Facility does not offer the services you need. This is what, after over 2 months and MANY MANY phone calls and different answers and people that would not listen to me. I got my shot squared away yesterday. Just waiting for them to contact the doctor I requested to set up appointment. I am sure that MOST in the “Program” do not have a CLUE about this qualifier. But I saw it somewhere in the mass of bureaucratic red tape I went through while pulling my hair out. My caregiver, my daughter, threw up her hands in disgust and asked if there was any way I could handle this .

  18. Karen D. Stafford June 23, 2015 at 9:29 am

    This program has failed miserably for me. I am a 100% disabled veteran and desperately in need of dental care in need of a root canal. For months all I got was a run around on getting fee basis approval for my local dentist. This went on so long that the nerve of the tooth became exposed. The pain was excruciating. I could not drink anything without severe pain. I could eat very little which also caused severe pain. Even the intack of air into my mouth createdsevere pain. I could barely talk. Having reach the end of what I could endure I was finally able to convince the person who answered the 800 medical number on my VA card to do something. She asked what out patient facility I was assigned to and said the Mountain Home VA Hospital’s dental clinic would do the fee basis approval and transferred me. For three days all I could get was an answering machine where I left numerous messages Not one message was returned.

    Finally I called my Senator’s office and related my story. About 4:30 pm on Friday someone finally returned my call but said the person I had totalk to was gone for the weekend. So I had to wait till Monday and she called me first thing. She got all my info. On the next day she called and had all the necessary paperwork ready. Then that afternoon she called and said I had called the wrong VA hospital. That because of the county I lived in I am assigned to the Nashville VA hospital which is in Murphyfreesboro. Mind you it was VA personnel who transferred my call to Mountain Home VA. The lady went on to explain and apologize that they could no assist me further because fee basis funding has a set allotment per county and I was not assigned to any county in their treatment area. She again apologised and gave me the name and number of the dental clinic I needed to deal with.

    By now my pain was unbearable and I could barely talk. Emotionally I could no deal with any more and literally was considering the use of a gun to end the pain. Again I called my Senator’soffice, related what all had happened. She said she would take care of it and she did. The next day my dentist performed the root canal. That was April. I’m still needing the rest of the work done and have begun having problems with the temporary crown. There is additional work that MUST be done that is related to damage being caused by my medications.

    And recently my orthopedist discovered my knee consists of dead bone and that I will be needing a knee replacement. My doctor nor the hospital where the pr7ocedure will be performed have never heard of this VA program nor the procedure on how they were to electronically submit their documentation to the VA for approval. And lastly all civilian doctors/hospitals have to accept the reduced reimbursement the VA is willing to pay for the procedure. The indications I have received is that the VA fee reimbursement is very lacking. The doctors and hospital and rehabilitation center have told me the fee the VA was proposing as reimbursement was unacceptable and they would not accept it.

    I am a 100% disabled veteran. There is an out patient facility in Knoxville but all my varied health problems require specialist care which means driving to Murphyfreesboro for treatment. That is a 3 hour drive (one way) if there are no weather problems, accidents, or road work. Additionally I go from Eastern Standard Time to Central Time so that adds another hour to the time I have to leave my house making the drive a minimum of 4 hours (one way). Then once at the VA facility I must negotiate the large parking area to park and then make my way to out patient to chech in (told to be there 15-30 minutes early). Once I have been checked in at out patient I then have to negotiate the large facilitate to reach the actual clinic my appointment is with (again told to be there 15 to 30 minutes early). Then the wait time before seeing the doctor (or more often a physician’s assistant) can be several hours. I AM 100% DISABLED and this is physical and mental torture. I cannot make this drive and have to check into a hotel the night before. Then after dealing with mostly rude and even incompetant staff I am too drained to drive home so require another overnight stay in a hotel. Now because I am away from home two nights and most of three days I have to board my two large dogs. The hotel and boarding eexpenses run me $280 out of pocket expense whexn all the doctors and various specialists I pay at my own expense are at only a 40 mile drive. There is never more than 10 day wait for an appointment and that is rare. Mostly I can get appointments for the next day up to 3 days later. This is why we veterans should be allowed to see doctors of our choosing in our community and why nothing less is acceptable.

    The VA healthcare system is so antiquated that it is beyond repair. This new Veterans Choice Program is only a bandaid and a poor one at that. With the closure of military bases many years ago and half of our military strength being filled by reservists aka citizen soldiers the problem of veterans receiving proper and timely healthcare is only going to deteriorate because more and more veterans will be living in small communities hundreds of miles from VA facilities. The only acceptable answer is the total privatization of veteran healthcare. Nothing less will be acceptable.

  19. Michelle Robles June 22, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    My questions:
    1. Why do Health Net employees give different answers to the same question on different calls? Who is training these people and do they have a manual or are they making it up as they go?
    2. Why is the process so complicated? The list of approved providers are all just as far away as the VA facility. And the application from a requested local provider goes on the same data entry stack as the ones who want to become part of the program which in our case resulted in a significant delay. With computer and the internet this should be a simple process that can be completed almost immediately.
    2. Not all VA facilities provide the same level of healthcare services. Why doesn’t the mileage qualification include “more than 40 miles from the nearest facility that provides required healthcare”? Why should my husband have to sit in a hotel room for 3 weeks so he can receive a daily 15 minute radiation treatment for cancer?

    • Ralph Maddox June 24, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      What I found out yesterday, when I FINALLY got my approval is that “Health Net” is for approval to what s referred to as “PC-3” and is for SOME not all. I am approved because the VA Facility that I go to does not have a Neurologist. That makes me eligible for a program called “The Choice First Program” . After over 2 months and MANY < MANY phone calls and different answers. This is what I was told yesterday. You still call the VA Choice phone number, but not eligible due to "mileage" or "wait time". But because your facility does not offer the services that you need. Now that is what I was told yesterday after FINALLY getting a rep. that was trained properly and took the time to listen and find solutions. Now I am supposed to get a call within 5 days with my appointment information. I was approved for the "PC-3" way back in early May. They called me ,several times, before telling me that they could not find a "Provider" in my area. So they cancelled my PC3 and sent my case back to the VA. But as I have known all along, the Carl Vinson VAMC in Dublin, Ga. has NO ONE that is trained on the procedures of the Program. Good Luck to all and Have A Blessed Day. ps. all you Veterans that are new to the VA Medical, DO NOT GIVE UP. KEEP FIGHTING FOR YOUR BENEFITS!!!

  20. Bruce Oleson June 22, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    When veterans choice first came out I was told that I was ineligible because there was a VA facility within the 40 mile rule. However it’s just a clinic with no x-ray, no lab, no nothing. My primary and hospital are over and hour and a half away. Now I’m need of foot surgery and was told that once pre op clearance was done that they, those at the VA, would get me veterans choice since the surgery can’t be done for at least 6-7 months. Has the program changed enough to where I can get this done?

  21. David Fleming June 22, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    please send me more Info.

  22. Daniel Lee Rocha June 22, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    What is the maximum income I can make to be qualified for VA medical assistance!!!!!

  23. French Shannon III June 22, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    I live in Panama, but I like to use my Dr in NC, can I use My Veteran Choice?

  24. Harold Kenneth Recoy June 20, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    No it doesn’t work for me. I desperately need to have surgery on my sinuses as per my VA ENT, but based on my personal experience with the VA, I am Not going to allow them to cut on me. Sorry but over the last 41 years I have not been treated very well by the VA, so it is a loss of trust issue. If I could go to the ENT that did surgery on my sinuses last time about 25 years ago that would be my “choice”.. I did try last year to use the Choice Card and the VA wanted to send me 250 miles from my home to Kansas City to see a VA ENT. When my ENT is about an hour away in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I hope this comment helps.

  25. Tracy McAdams June 20, 2015 at 11:41 am

    the Choice Program has failed miserably for just myself and my husband…2 veterans in a wide array of many. First off the simple one is myself, they made an annual mammogram appointment for me but neglected to let ME know about it. I cannot be somewhere that I don’t know I’m suppose to be, or when I’m suppose to be there. But you can bet I got the ole nasty gram for not showing up.

    My husband was sent out to podiatry, they neglected to provide authorization for necessary treatment (a simple x-Ray), we received a letter from TriWest staring since VA had not responded to several requests for this procedure he was no longer allowed the services of this podiatrist – don’t forget VA sent him there we didn’t pull him out of a hat – so we paid out of pocket for the x-Rays but could not afford the continued care. So here we are back at square one in the mean time my husband has a difficult time walking and is in constant pain from his feet (and other issues). He has neuropathy in both feet so hopefully nothing will happen until we can find a way to get him treated. At this point I would not trust VA to treat the feet of a dead rat the way they have outright lied to use during MANY phone calls and conversations with them. If we had to go to the ER there is no guarantee that the Choice program will pay, I went one time in severe pain from a service connected injury, when they told me this I left because I cannot afford an ER bill we’d be further ahead to just go on and die. It is no wonder so many veterans take their lives every single day – I guarantee if any one of you VA civilians had to go thru what we have to go thru you’d take your life too! But if you talk about it there’s plenty of beds in the psych ward!!!! One VA rep even quoted that to me and I certainly wish I had her name Because she does NOT belong trying to assist veterans for anything!!! The so called Choice program has been a nightmare and anything that has to do with VA has been a nightmare. I truly believe their goal is to not help the veteran but to eliminate as many as they can so they can say they have decreased the overall claims and improved the overall care for veterans without citing the horrific statistics. Every veteran is a mother, a father, a son, a daughter, a brother, a sister, or someone’s loved one – treat them as if they were your very own loved one!!!!

  26. James C Robinson June 20, 2015 at 7:01 am

    I was told that my Card would come in two weeks, That was in late April. I have not seen one yet.

    • Ralph Maddox June 24, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      After waiting long time for my card, I was finally informed that my VA Facility is the one that say you are eligible for a card and The Choice Program. And from my experience all they are using as a deciding factor is whether you live within 40 miles. But that is WRONG. There are several factors that may qualify you for VA Choice.

  27. Ralph Maddox June 19, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    Well Well so we have to pass muster to comment here. OKAY Nice to know. Would hate for someone to say something that is not liked or acceptable.

    • Megan Moloney June 20, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      Mr. Maddox, the review process is two-fold: first, to keep spam comments off the site (we get quite a few); second, to ensure personally identifiable information isn’t posted. You can find our social media policy where this is outlined at the top of the page under the “Resources” tab.

      • Ralph Maddox June 24, 2015 at 8:50 pm

        Yes sir. Thank You.

  28. Ralph Maddox June 19, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    The biggest problem I see is NO ONE seems to know exactly how it works. Every time I call or ask at my healthcare facility, Carl Vinson VAMC, I get a different answer. I have been waiting for a NON VA NEUROLOGY appointment since it was approved by FEE BASIS on 18 Apr. 2015. We do not have Neurology at this VAMC. Finally, after dozens of phone calls and Secure Messages, and threats of calling I.G., my attorney, and Congress. I was informed, by FEE BASIS, on 18 June 2015 that I had to “respond to this message that you wish to OPT-IN to the VA Choice Program”. So I responded to that message and will wait and see. While waiting, I have lost all feeling in my let hand, except for the BURNING, and most function of my left hand. I broke my neck on 04 Mar 1992 and had surgery. I am VERY CONFIDENT that I have , at least, Herniated a Cervical Disc. I, having been disabled and in Constant Severe Pain since then, am worse off than I was. I am ONE SICK PUPPY. But was told I would get a phone call on Mon 22 June 2015. We will see. The VA CHOICE cust. serv. has told me , on several occasions, that I “was not eligible” for Choice. I am currently receiving “Disability Pension with Special Benefits as Needing Aid and Attendance of Another.” And was under the impression that this made me automatically ELIGABLE!? Hopefully everybody that is responsible for implementing and operating the CHOICE PROGRAM will receive the PROPER TRAINING needed to ensure ALL VETERANS get the care we need and DESERVE! Thank You For YOUR TIME. Ralph M. Maddox by/hdm

    • Sheryl Edwards Blanford June 24, 2015 at 12:27 am

      Please look into Dr Hayward he is a neurosurgeon in Marion Illinois but he is an outside dr. He did wonders for my 78 YR OLD father who had a head injury.

  29. Michael Goode June 19, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    We need our elected officials be held accountable. The system is such that all entities are funded by the same funds. BVA, Pro Bono, EAJA, etc. as so many veterans commit acts of violence and suicide while VA go without remand. Our veterans have earned and deserve better???

    • Ralph Maddox June 19, 2015 at 11:26 pm

      The elected officials are not my first issue, It is The Employees at The Carl Vinson VAMC. Frank Brooks and Dr. Moti are two that I MUST SAY ARE GREAT. But so many could care less about a Veteran. It is all about the money, the benefits and their retirement. They really need to understand that without Veterans They Have No Great Job!! MANY of the employees at This facility really needs some training in compassion and priorities. MANY MANY are Not VET FRIENDLY, is the way we put it. I am sure I will get in hot water for this comment. I did when I spoke out at a Town Hall Meeting back in Dec. 2014. Was let know that my “comments were not appreciated”. Especially since the News Media was there. Oh Well. Get it together and we will not be able to criticize Oh Well, To Those that Honestly care, I SAY THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!! To The Rest, GET YOUR STUFF TOGETHER, CAUSE CONGRESS IS GOING TO MAKE IT MUCH EASIER TO REPLACE YOU NOT JUST MOVE YOU TO ANOTHER DEPARTMENT!

    • Rodney Cruz Jr June 26, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      As I was tune in to the discussion, the gentleman said, “Guam (Mariana Islands) automatically qualifies for the program due to our location”. Well, folks this is a lie and let me be clear to the VA representatives their, as my earlier question that was not answered.

      I live on Guam for the past 5years, it was just yesterday that the VA in Honolulu had called me and informed me that a referral that was submitted from my Mental Health provider was going to exceed more than 30days and had informed me to call the Veterans Choice Program toll free number to schedule an outside referral. Long story short, I was informed by the Veteran Choice Program Supervisor Mr. Max (who didn’t want to give his last name) that Guam “Does Not” and “Is Not” authorized by the program to assist the veterans. To include that the Guam VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic does not have the capabilities to enter a veteran for a case management on the Veterans Choice Program.

      So when you say easy “Access” and “Choice” the VA is misleading the Veteran community and sadly being falsely represented by you folks on this Goggle Hangout and the Secretary himself. “Shame on you!” and you call yourself a veteran. Bottom line here is that, my VA medical referral has been delayed and I don’t have the choice to seek quality healthcare treatment by or from the VA on Guam. Sadly to say, but a brother (Combat Veteran) who is a disabled combat veteran and a veteran from the OEF died one week before Memorial Day due to “Wrongful Death” of the VA on Guam. Which was because of mismanagement and Irregularities and Preferential Treatment at the Guam VA CBOC Clinic. Totally against everything you have said, “Access, Choice, & Accountability).

      Lastly, I hope that the Secretary of the VA would contact me in regards to that my access and choice is null and does not exist on Guam. Mr. Secretary my email is ( as just like the individual who sits on this panel, I am a 100% disabled veteran (Iraq Vet) who served multiple tours in Iraq from 2003 thru 2007. I am also a retired VA employee who has worked at both the Guam Vet Center and Southern Grants Pass Vet Center in Oregon providing readjustment counseling to our Pacific Island veterans, and who awarded the VA excellence coin by former VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki.

    • Rodney Cruz Jr June 26, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      I was called from the Honolulu VA Pacific Island Healthcare system, referral department and was told that my consul that my primary care provider put in would take beyond 30 days and to call the Veterans Choice Program and have them put a referral to an outside vendor. Long story short the supervisor I spoke to told me that Guam is not recognized and that I would have to seek care else where.

      Why am I a disabled combat veteran from the war in Iraq who was in 2 separated IED’s and lastly shot by an Iraqi sniper that ended my military career who is 100% rated for service connected for PTSD, TBI, Spinal Injury, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, a few to mention, being denied care from this program or the VA?

      What makes me less of a veteran then someone who is in Honolulu, Hawaii and what about my other combat arms brothers and sister that make up over 27,000 plus veterans who served and sacrificed for our country freedom left in the dark on the island of Guam (U.S. territory), by the way I am a U.S. citizen.

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