Note: This article is the third in a series on VA’s progress implementing the VA MISSION Act of 2018.

VA recently proposed new rules for Veteran community care that include six new eligibility criteria for Veterans under the VA MISSION Act, which was signed into law by President Trump in June 2018.

The new eligibility criteria will be a major improvement over existing criteria in terms of making things simpler: currently, eligibility criteria vary between VA’s community care programs.  When the new criteria go into effect, Veterans can expect better access and greater choice in their health care, whether at VA or through a community provider.

The eligibility criteria are projected to go into effect in June 2019 after final regulations are published and effective, so the criteria are not yet final. In addition, key aspects of community care eligibility include the following:

  • Veterans must receive approval from VA prior to obtaining care from a community provider in most circumstances.
  • Veterans must either be enrolled in VA health care or be eligible for VA care without needing to enroll to be eligible for community care.
  • Eligibility for community care will continue to be dependent upon a Veteran’s individual health care needs or circumstances.
  • VA staff members generally make all eligibility determinations.
  • Veterans will usually have the option to receive care at a VA medical facility regardless of their eligibility for community care.
  • Meeting any one of six eligibility criteria listed below is sufficient to be referred to a community provider—a Veteran does not have to meet all of them to be eligible. (Real-world examples of when a Veteran would be eligible for community care are included in the eligibility fact sheet linked at the end of the article).

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Veteran Needs a Service Not Available at a VA Medical Facility

In this situation, a Veteran needs a specific type of care or service that VA does not provide in-house at any of its medical facilities.

  1. Veteran Lives in a U.S. State or Territory Without a Full-Service VA Medical Facility

In this scenario, a Veteran lives in a U.S. State or territory that does not have a full-service VA medical facility. Specifically, this would apply to Veterans living in Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, and the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

  1. Veteran Qualifies under the “Grandfather” Provision Related to Distance Eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program

For this element, there are a few different ways that a Veteran could be eligible for community care. Initially, the following two requirements must be met in every case:

  • Veteran was eligible under the 40-mile criterion under the Veterans Choice Program on the day before the VA MISSION Act was enacted into law (June 6, 2018), and
  • Veteran continues to reside in a location that would qualify them under that criterion.

If both of these requirements have been met, a Veteran may be eligible if one of the following is also true:

  • Veteran lives in one of the five States with the lowest population density from the 2010 Census: North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Alaska, and Wyoming, or
  • Veteran
    • lives in another State,
    • received care between June 6, 2017, and June 6, 2018, and
    • requires care before June 6, 2020
  1. VA Cannot Furnish Care within Certain Designated Access Standards

To be eligible under this criterion, Veterans must meet specific access standards for average drive time or appointment wait-times.

The specific access standards are described below. (Important: Access standards are proposed and not yet final).

Average drive time to a specific VA medical facility

  • 30-minute average drive time for primary care, mental health, and non-institutional extended care services (including adult day health care)
  • 60-minute average drive time for specialty care

Appointment wait time at a specific VA medical facility

  • 20 days for primary care, mental health care, and non-institutional extended care services, unless the Veteran agrees to a later date in consultation with their VA health care provider
  • 28 days for specialty care from the date of request, unless the Veteran agrees to a later date in consultation with their VA health care provider
  1. It Is in the Veteran’s Best Medical Interest

In this situation, a Veteran may be referred to a community provider when the Veteran and the referring clinician agree that it is in their best medical interest to see a community provider.

  1. A VA Medical Service Line Does Not Meet Certain Quality Standards

In this scenario, if VA has identified a medical service line is not meeting VA’s standards for quality based on specific conditions, Veterans can elect to receive care from a community provider with certain limitations.

Going Forward

What is described above should be taken as a preview of what the final eligibility criteria may be, because it is not yet final. The new criteria are expected to go into effect in June 2019, after final regulations are published and effective.



IMAGE: Jonathan LudwigJonathan Ludwig is the communication lead for VHA’s Office of Community Care.

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Published on Apr. 9, 2019

Estimated reading time is 4.4 min.

Views to date: 2,821


  1. Don Gucciardo April 26, 2019 at 9:09 am


    While the VA is implementing changes to the Community Care program, there is an issue that must be addressed. There seems to be a significant difference in the interpretation of how payments are handled between the VA and community medical providers.

    This is not about “poor me”, but more a cautionary tale for any veteran considering Community Care.

    I am 70 year old Vietnam Veteran with a wife suffering from Alzheimer’s. My wife and I depend on my VA Disability, CHAMPVA and Social Security to survive. I am rated 100% disabled and I have worked hard to maintain a satisfactory credit score. However, after a 2 year payment dispute between the VA and Florida Digestive Health Specialists, I was forced to pay out-of-pocket, $356 or suffer a negative credit report and refusal for treatment for stomach cancer by Florida Digestive Health Specialists, one of the largest medical networks in Florida.

    Despite countless calls to the VA Community Care, Florida Digestive Health Specialists, the physician, Health Net, VA Adverse Credit Reporting, VA Patient Advocates, Capital Collection Services and many more, NOTHING was ever done. The VA claimed they paid the allotted amount and the Florida Digestive Health Specialists said they didn’t.

    The “bottom line” was I was caught in the middle. Although I continually told Florida Digestive Health Specialists that 100% of my bills were to be covered by the VA, they simply said “too bad, we don’t work for the VA and if they won’t pay – you will”.

    The sad part is, they were right; in order for them to proceed with my urgently needed surgery and, in order to protect my credit standing, I ended up paying.

    What is the point of having Community Care if the providers simply demand that the veteran sign a stack of legal documents guaranteeing payment before they will treat you? If the VA payment allowance is not enforced, or if uncooperative medical providers simply ignore their responsibility, it places the veteran in jeopardy. So what’s the point?

    Now I am receiving a stack of bills related to my VA AUTHORIZED cancer surgery. And, once again, Florida Digestive Health Specialists, despite my certified letters reminding them of my 100% VA coverage, has turned me over to collections AGAIN for payments that the VA is responsible for. Only this time the exposure to these mounting bills for cancer surgery could financially destroy me.

    Please consider this matter. I have a stack of evidence to support my claim (if necessary).

    Thank you,
    Don Gucciardo

  2. ralph eward leasure April 24, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    I can,t get any answer when call or IF they do answer they NEVER call back this going on for long time

  3. Troy J Allen April 23, 2019 at 11:23 am

    I have used the VA healthcare system for about well I say since 1991 when I got out of the Navy. I have overall been very satisfied with the care I’ve received You have to know how to self advocate, not lose your temper and not take anything personal because the staff is understaffed and they see so many veterans You might think you’re the only one: They’ve had hundreds of Veterans before you. I have used the choice program successfully and tactically.

    VHA wasn’t the problem except that the payout process was arduous. Combined with a lack of local providers knowing how to interact or get paid by the choice program a.k.a. tricare. Admittedly I know how to use the system very well because I’ve learned everything that I can about how to interact with the VHA. The more that you understand that you have to self advocate as I said before. And as my dear grandfather used to say : “Start with honey first and if that doesn’t work use gasoline.”

    Compassion empathy and Grace go long way.

    As for transparency and disclaimer I am a peer support specialist in the homeless program for the Eugene homeless veteran program. As a peer support I’m auto recovery I help others understand about self advocacy I share my recovery story as needed I hope veterans navigate the VA system etc. so I’m a veteran service connected using VA mental and physical services and if you have any reason that you need help feel free to reach out to me .

  4. Richard Houchens April 23, 2019 at 10:27 am


  5. Arthur Christopher Tanny April 14, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    I see again that the Vetrans that are in the VA Manila Clinic Care is again just screwed for proper service. This act should cover all VA Clinics and not discriminate against Location, national origin and race. Brothers in arms, Americans and those that have given their all to protect America should ALL HAVE THE SAME TREATMENT!

    No matter where the VA Clinics are, even though there is only one that is outside the US, Should be covered.

    The VA should not discriminate against Veterans, no matter where they resided!

  6. Henry Felter April 12, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    I used the VA for 45 years, but moved to Thailand to raise grandson. No VA here and the one in Manilla only accepts Vets who live in the Phippines. It’d be nice to be able to have the Choice program here

  7. Greg Veeh April 12, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Is the new program going to correct this issue, and before I describe that I’ll mention I approached my State Senator about this and his response was “yeah that program didn’t work out as planned” then he laughed as he turned and walked away. There is a local VA clinic here that provides primary care and has a small lab, for anything more it’s 120 miles away. In the past year I’ve needed MRI, CT, dental work and needed to see a urologist. In each case I tried to get approved for Choice, I’m rated 100% disabled and traveling is an issue, a big issue. Choice refused me in every case. Even though the local clinic provides just basic care I still have to travel the 120 miles for advanced care just because the clinic is here. If any care is local, no matter how minor, then all care has to be continued in only VA facilities. I’m currently at the end of my patience and ready to go without care due to traveling being so difficult.

    • Martin Key, Jr. April 16, 2019 at 3:54 am

      The VA,at its hospitals,has set-up transportation for members who live too far AWAY, you have to notify them for setting a time.. They will need to know what condition you are in,,,,wheelchair bound, scooter bound instead of normal walking,breathing problems and many other health related areas, so they will know what style vehicle to bring for you and for others they have to pick up in that area. All the drivers are very nice,,good drivers,timely, in for some people they may send a nurse with the driver..Check with your primary,,or your website///or the community director… There is a plan already being used and it works very well..Not saying they make a mistake, but they too mess up,,we all human..

    • Jack Gill April 16, 2019 at 6:20 am

      Greg: there is a criteria where if you are unable to travel due to health conditions. You should be able to get care close to your home. Your VA doctor needs to document this care. The new criteria just listed. Items 3 and 4 should help. Study this new information. Don’t give up the fight.

  8. GARY g GENTRY April 12, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    va has health insurance has been good to mw

  9. warner April 12, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    TO EVERYBODY, If you read through here you will get a picture of the real world of the VA. I’ve had several people who have called me in the last week would argue that point. They seem to want to make sure that I just let it go. All I hear from all these supposed advocates is “We’re Sorry” and “We understand your frustration” to where I can’t stand it those lines anymore. That is the extent of their help. They claim they are veterans but at this point I find it hard to believe.

    I want to find a forum where those of us who want to see to it that veterans aren’t left to die and suffer with the Mission Act like with Choice. It could be you some day that it is You that is left high and dry. If ANYBODY knows where we can communicate publicly and privately PLEASE post it. We can literally save lives. Btw not one of these so called advocates that are trying to help us argued the point when I brought up that veterans are dying.

    • JT Mather April 15, 2019 at 6:13 pm

      Did you talk to anyone at the American Legion? They seem to be very adept with helping veterans get the healthcare they need. I suggest that you reach out to a local chapter and see if they can advocate on your behalf. Hope this helps! JT

  10. Bill scott April 12, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    I asked the Dr at the French Camp ca facility why could only see me once a year and was told with 1800 patients for 1 dr that was the problem. I have federal health insurance and that pays the visit. I have to use a local DR and pay $30 per visit co pay the VA is NO CO PAY.
    System is messed up and because if that have just stated paying for MEDICARE B.

    • Sylvia Stanley April 24, 2019 at 8:00 am

      My daughter died 5 years ago, because the va took too long for dental repair surgery. The va doctor mess up her mouth. The va is still trying to get out of their mistake. My next move is to have an investigative reportor , expose everything the Dekalb Va did to cause her death. I am ready to expose everthing

  11. mark dugat April 12, 2019 at 11:54 am

    I have been on the choice program for years. Since I live 76 miles from the main facility, and 41 miles from my PCP. The problem that me and a bunch of other people have is that the VA. does most of their out sourcing through Tri-West and it is a real pain trying to get any thing done though them. My question is, is the new eligibility program gonna fix this problem.

    • Ken smallcanyon April 12, 2019 at 2:13 pm

      I hear triwest is gonna be eliminated from the process. Hope it’s true because they are about the most disorganized organization in our country.

      • Linda Haddock April 22, 2019 at 1:07 am

        I don’t believe requiring nonVA providers will provide care if the VA is going to require them to sign up in a network. Hospitals, clinics & doctors should certify that they are in good standing when they submit a bill to the VA for payment.
        Also, there is no mention of emergency care. I took my husband to the closest hospital who performed neurosurgery previously on him that the VA approved. The next time was severe problems that required these same surgeons to perform the next surgery the last time. Now while in the hospital he has gotten the MRSA infection.On top of that he has gotten pneumonia. I couldn’t have took him out of the hospital & get the VA to approve all this treatment. I was told VA don’t have facilities to perform this type of surgery. He’s gravely ill & still in the hospital. I hope VA will pay these bills.
        Since the law was written to allow Veterans to go to a non-VA provider, it depends who you talk to about the coverage that VA will pay. I haven’t always got the same answer.

      • Lacy Dawn April 22, 2019 at 7:27 pm

        Are you sure they will be eliminated? How can this be confirmed?

      • Kathleen Herrera May 2, 2019 at 12:09 am

        I use the Phoenix VA, there rating is worst in the country. If you go tonthe ER it’s a very long wait.. Local ambalsnces won’t take you there. I kept getting outsoursed fot treatment becuz the wait times for appt is months. After 6pm the Phoenix VA doesnt’have anyone to read xrays so thry send them out! WTF???!! I was outsourced so much but VA never paid. I had to file bankruptcy.


  12. The Forgotten Marine April 12, 2019 at 3:40 am

    What seems to be noted is FACT. At a minimum 22 veterans commit suicide each and everyday, that’s 22 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year. We are BROTHERS IN ARMS, and we need to support each other. A vast majority of homeless in the country are veterans, and some states are right to hire states which simply means, just because you’re a qualified and or overqualified veteran they DONT have to hire you. That’s just one of the political hurdles you face in a Commonwealth. If you have the ability volunteer with an organization that caters to veterans, like the Wounded Warriors, the many different organizations need all the help they can, because we’re sure not going to get it any other way. The next time you vote, make sure the Commander in Chief has served in the military so they can relate to the many hardships we face daily, because we need to have a voice and not be used again as pawns in politics. Thank you for serving, and for those that have passed honor them with dignity. Be Proud, Stand Tall, and LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD. SEMPER FIDELIS.

    • Joseph Muraca April 29, 2019 at 8:10 pm

      The camp Lejeune Water problem. When will our Government own up to the fact that they hid the problem for so many years. Now that they Admitted the problem, Instead, they are sweeping it under the Table.and disapproving comp benefits . Why?

  13. Carey F Daly April 11, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    What kind of a “Choice” is it? The ultimate decision as to a vet using a community provider for Tests or Care still lies with the local VA primary care provider, when the vet needs services not provided by the local clinic. All of the “New” rules still leave control in the hands of primary care/VA. I live 90 minutes/78 miles from the VA hospital, and was my own advocate to convince my primary care I should go for the prescribed test locally. The process elongated the analysis of my medical problem over 30 days from my initial request to my VA Primary care. I don’t think this was the President’s intention, nor the VA Chief’s direction. ???

    • Jason Paul Robinson April 12, 2019 at 12:32 pm

      Thank you for your concern for our fellow bother-in-arms, I have tried to make a voice for our veterans in Michigan, but have been shot down at every turn due to the ” upheaval ” it would cause for the positions who are supossed to be help us. I see veterans suffering the effects of combat, on a daily basis, as I am also a combat veteran with PTSD.
      If you could find the time to make yourself available to discuss any options that I have not explored to put veterans issues back on the map, and in front of the people that all of us fought so hard to defend it would be appropriate greatly.
      My email address is as follows

      Thank you for your time,
      Jason P. Robinson

    • Debra harshman May 2, 2019 at 11:33 am

      From what I know, Optus care will be the payer for all community care provided the outside provider of this care signs a contract with optimum care first. So if you want to be seen by dr/ hospital , they need to sign up to take optimum care insurance the same as if they would take blue cross or medicare. Make sure they are before you go to any outside provider or you will be stuck paying the bill.

  14. William Maynard April 11, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    The bottom line with the new Community Care program is that the VA is trying to protect its jobs by making it difficult for veterans to get care outside of the VA system. Veterans Choice was working well. Now I have to jump through hoops to get authorizations, whether new or renewal. Veterans should simply be given the choice to use VA system or use civilian facilities, period. I shouldn’t have to run over to my primary care provider to get an authorization. The VA system is great for veterans who have nothing but time on their hands and want to spend the day at the Medical Center and hang out waiting for various appointments. It is horrible for those of us that work and have responsibilities. My VA doctor actually suggested that I use civilian insurance instead of the VA. Just give veterans the choice they deserve and stop forcing them to deal with the bureaucratic nightmare of the broken VA system. The VA keeps trying to fix itself, but it is not working. Just give us choice like civilians have.

    • Beth Ardolino April 12, 2019 at 10:31 am

      You are absolutely correct. We should have the freedom to choose our providers. Give us an insurance card that will actually PAY the providers. I tried to find a doctor with the VA help and while there were many listed as open to caring for veterans, call after call had the same results. Doctors who previously agreed to take veterans under the VA program refused because they said the VA never paid them. Furthermore, when the VA had my private insurance information they billed my insurance for service-connected disabilities.

      My VA is a teaching hospital and I prefer to not be their lab rat. I once had surgery where the anesthesiologist actually gave me a marker to mark my body part where the surgeon should make the incision! It resulted in permanent nerve damage.

      Partner with an insurance system that works and is established to process claims for derive-connected and non service-connected care through our chosen providers.

  15. Thea Gove April 11, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    I’d like to tell you one of my many stories about trying to deal with the rules, especially the 40 mile rule for community care, in the Boston VA System. I get my primary care there. I live over 50 miles away. Because of the daily traffic conditions it takes me 2.5+ hours to get there, even at 6am. It’s the same with the 24 Urgent Care which is in West Roxbury. I have been told that I do not qualify for community care because there is a VA facility in Portsmouth NH and in Manchester NH which are both under the 40 mile criteria. Note that these are in NH under the Manchester NH VA System, and my Primary Care is in the Boston VA system. I have a service connected disability. A few years ago I had an emergency situation that had to do with that condition. The VA national after hours phone line told me to go to Manchester NH. A friend drove me. I was told that I would be admitted, so my ride went home. Then I was told that I would be taken by ambulance to Concord NH hospital (not part of VA) because Manchester had no services for my affliction. I had tests done in concord and medication prescribed, but they decided I did not have to be admitted. I was put in a “free” taxi and driven to the Manchester VA. That was as far as they could bring me. I was left in the empty parking lot at 3am and had to find my own way home. To top it off, I couldn’t get my “emergency” medication filled because it had to go through the Boston VA first. I went 2 days without. This is just one of the many situations I have found myself in because the rules say you have to live over 40 miles away from the closest VA. The closest VA to me is in another state and in another VA System. The different VA systems don’t “talk”. For instance, my primary care doctor can’t put in lab orders for me in the Portsmouth VA because she is part of the Boston VA. Yet I get denied every time to go to a community VA because another VA is under 40 miles away. The law doesn’t take into consideration that it is a different VA system and I can’t get the services I need. This new law coming up still looks at the 40 mile rule. It needs to recognize that in some places that takes you to VA systems that aren’t a part of each other. What can I do? The VA in Boston told me (after many different inquiries) every time that “I LIVE IN THE WRONG PLACE”. That is unacceptable and I suffer great hardships and lack of care because of this.

    • Brian Simmons April 20, 2019 at 4:05 pm

      The VA will try to fix it’s self, but only if it doesn’t have to do any. A lazy, corrupt federal or state employee will never fix themselves, only make it harder for others to try and correct their job or way of doing it. If you have a company where the employees have become lazy and complacent, you have to wipe the slate clean of everyone, or the old corrupt way will creep back in, that’s why the government can’t be fixed, because they teach each other the government way. Look at Congress, they get all the benefits to do nothing but blow smoke. Make ALL federal, state, or elected official use the same facilities with no special entrances, treatment, and the VA doctors and nurses, Eldow to Elbows and watch the system correct itself then, that will fix it and quick.

  16. bruce Spry April 11, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    I brought a VA prescription to my LA clinic, could I get an eye exam or glasses? NO…… pay distances and amount paid have been different every trip for years and years, when paid. No help from pulmonary, ENT or primary. Nearly died, thank God for outside doctors. Yes choice, where you get to do most of the work. Most vets after name have no VA period. LA veterans does not care if you live two hours away, too busy fighting over who gets which donut.

  17. Siue burriss April 11, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    We live close 100 miles from the VA dental program in Louisville and my husband has to drive there to get dental work. That is a long way for a 71 year old to drive. His primary doctor is about 80 miles away and if he has to drive there it takes all day but if you don’t go you can’t get medicine. My husband ordered some medicine three weeks ago and never got it. We called the pharmacy at the VA and were told it came from Tennessee and was there waiting to be mailed. Called Fort Knox and they said it was sent the 9th. Now who knows where the medicine is. People with PTSD are dangerous without their medication! I can’t see VA is providing services!.

    • Mitchell Edwards April 12, 2019 at 9:17 am

      People with PTSD are actually not dangerous without medication, at least not to others, as much as they are themselves. This is re-enforcement of long outdated stigma that surrounds individuals with mental health diagnosis. Statistically an individual with a diagnosis is far more likely to be the victim of a crime, than the perpetrator. This is even more true among our Veteran population. I’m sorry you’re having difficulties with the system, but we have to take opportunities to educate folks about the facts surrounding PTSD, and other mental health diagnoses.

      • Cassandra Hefton April 13, 2019 at 2:53 pm

        As a disabled veteran with severe PTSD, I can attest to the fact that we ate more dangerous to ourselves. My friends know when I’m off my meds I become very, let’s call it, short tempered. I have never physically harmed anyone else but I do become very verbally violent and lash out for seemingly no reason and then there are the nightmares. Can’t sleep because of them everything is dark and then I just want it to be over. My doctors have been invaluable in stabilizing my condition and the medications are vital. With my treatment I am able to be my more cheerful self. That being said there are so many of my brothers and sisters who are not getting these necessary services because of all the bureaucratic red tape and every time some politician tries to fix it they always make it worse. When are we going to Gerry someone who actually knows and understands what we’re all must go through to get the vital care we need. We did our bit. If people really want to thank us for our service how about providing better services for our wound both visible and invisible. I do not regret one moment of my service. I love my brothers and sisters in arms. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. If one of us suffers, we all suffer. We do not leave a soldier behind. Never have never will. We must all fight together to make sure that all of our brothers and sisters in arms get the care they need. The system will never get better until we show the bureaucrats the way. They need to follow us. We must stand up together and make them hear us.

  18. Ed Talbot April 11, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    Overall, I feel the VA (Bay Pines on FL west coast) does a very good job. Providers are good and wait times are acceptable. If you have a good facility near you you should enroll and use it. Use Veterans Choice or VACCP only if you have to. Everyone should learn the rules and procedures as best they can. Use service organizations (Am Legion, VFW) for help. The system works if you work it,

    • Charles Dittell April 14, 2019 at 6:01 pm

      Well put. I too have received excellent care at Bay Pines VA facility, but it’s just a little
      too far for easy travel. With my disability, I’m eligible for some additional help, such as
      the Bradenton facility (for the disabled, with needs related to eyes, xtrays and the like.)
      There, too, I’ve received excellent help with waits usually less than 2 weeks.

  19. Rick Shaw April 11, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Granted, I didn’t read all of the above, but maybe someone already said this about Choice: it was a terrible program. Some of you may not have had experience with Choice, but it required that, once the VA had approved your treatment, they had to send their authorization to a contract company called Healthnet to do the rest of the processing to get you the appointment. However, Healthnet never added anything positive to get me health care outside the VA. They added another layer of unneeded bureaucracy to an already inefficient system, at taxpayer expense – money that could have been put into the VA system. For instance, why did they have to evaluate you again, and generate another authorization? With each step of their process taking five business days? I went through them for four different health problems, due to VA inability to meet the 60 day requirement, and every time I spent many hours over many days over many weeks just to keep my case moving along. I have pages of notes, so it’s too much to go into all of the details; however, I’m hoping the community care option, run by the VA, will be an improvement over the Healthnet involvement.

    On a different topic, I can see some VA problems were caused by the Affordable Health Care Act (known as Obamacare). There are vets who were never in the system, that entered the system to avoid the IRS penalties. Nothing wrong with that, but the system would have to be enlarged (both facilities and providers) to serve the growth in the number of patients. I don’t see the budget increased to account for that – one of those ‘unintended’ consequences. Additionally, even though I’m 100%, I always carried my own outside insurance. The VA could bill this insurance for my health care, thus recouping some of their costs. When Obamacare kicked in, my insurance company closed; therefore, the VA couldn’t recover any costs (BTW, they never billed me for the co-pay). I can’t have been the only person in this situation, so there’s no telling how much money the VA lost when this happened to other vets. Take money out of the system at the same time you’re adding people to the system and of course there will be problems. Too bad Congress passes laws when they’re incapable of doing the math.

  20. Danny Mathis April 11, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Hi not to complain but to give some info to other Vets with severe eye problems. I am now 100% disabled due to caused in the Military. My PCP at my VA didn’t take me seriously as usual when I complained of blurry vision and the beginning of total loss of sight in one of my eyes. She didn’t send me to get it checked further when it finally went totally blind/black I finally got local outside treatment and the lady (first opinion) told me there was nothing they could do and I was now going to have to adjust to being totally blind in the eye permanently. I was horrified and you can imagine the stress level. I went back to my PCP at the VA and requested a second opinion to see another doctor. It finally happened. I went to see them and it turns out I had a detached retina in my left (blind) eye and multiple tears in my right eye. They did laser surgery/treatment on both my eyes and fixed them halalula. Later It started again in my same left eye so they sent me to another doctor because the one I had previously went to didn’t take Choice anymore due to the VA not paying or slow payment so they dropped them. Well now another long delay to get to see another specialist. Turned out I now had a caterac in the eye and they had to remove it and put a new lens in my eye and said it would last longer than me ha ha. That solved that problem. Later it started to get fuzzy again and double vision so I had to go to another doctor all together and have a laser treatment done and that fixed it. I have my fingers crossed because he told me I now have the beginnings of a caterac in my right eye and will eventually have to go through all of this again.

    My advice is to be totally persistent with your PCP and demand that you be seen ASAP really fast and then they should take faster and better action for you. Hope this helps. I finally got everything fixed up until the next time. If the first person tells you, you are permanently blind in that eye request a second opinion you may be surprised as I was and as mentioned before they fixed it and I could now see again in both eyes.

  21. warner April 11, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    One thing I’d like to point out to everybody. Many veterans cannot get community healthcare due to the fact they live within 40 miles of a VA medical facility. In Salem, Oregon they will not take you in even if you are very ill as I tried and was told to make the hour plus drive up to Portland’s emergency room at the VA hospital which would have been dangerous and I didn’t have the energy anyway. I have to figure there are tens of thousands of veterans doing without a local PCP. I am hoping the Mission Act will fix this loophole. I have tried twice for community care and been denied even though there’s over 800 people in line to get a doctor but the doctors keep quitting in droves. They will not help you at all, zero.
    After telling a VA nurse of my refusal to be helped she told me she believes the VA healthcare system is genocide. She gave me other information that I was able to verify and she could only have known if she was an insider. So let’s see if we can include every veteran to get healthcare. I’m doing more research and contacting local representatives (again) and I will be contacting journalists starting today. As someone else stated the VA just wants to save money, not lives and I was told just this week by a representative that they are trying to keep costs down. Using the public sector should save money as government agencies typically are less than 50% efficient or even much less compared to the private sector.

  22. Michael Valdivia April 11, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    I’ve been reading comments and complaints regarding community care. 5 years ago using I needed gall bladder surgery. I was asked by my NW VA to seek n confirm with an outside surgeon n using my Healthy Choice Temp Card, who would accept my case. Then I was to forward the Dr the paperwork that the VA sent me. Within a month I had an appt with the surgeon and not long after a surgery date. My question is this. What the hell has occurred that most of these Vets are having bureaucratic nightmares n problems getting community services!? My transition was quick n streamlined including payment by VA to outside surgeon. Why did Trump decide to “fix” something that was working? There may be improvements in the other qualifying points for new program but definitely not community services. I’ve been suffering from moderate / severe TMJ for years but VA says I don’t qualify for dental. It’s a physical structure in jaw joints, not dental. So meds are prescribed. I’m not so sure about requesting community services after reading these comments. Best to all. Seek help from your State Representative or Congressperson. I have and it works!

  23. James A Holcomb April 11, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    The CHOICE program is a joke.I live 43 miles from the VA hospital. Cannot go to out side Dentist because i only live
    31 miles from an Out Patient clinic. Damn long way to drive by any standards. If the hospital is the far i should be able to use the choice program for any surgical procedure .They have not really done anything to make it better as usual. I have already found out the dental department is worthless. They do just enough to get by that is it.

    • Michael Valdivia April 11, 2019 at 2:11 pm

      James, you just answered my question about seeking outside help for a maxifilla surgeon for my TMJ. In my case for my surgery (see previous post) it was the VA that requested I seek outside services. It may be it was for their convenience such as being over-scheduled for surgeries. Again for their convenience n not Vets.

    • John Murray April 11, 2019 at 4:39 pm

      Wait until it’s medicare for all. Then you will see the mess we all will be in!

      • Gbcree April 26, 2019 at 11:54 am

        My medicare works fine. Hoping TriWest does too.

    • John Murray April 11, 2019 at 4:43 pm

      Things take time to change and especially the VA health care system. I know personally, things are getting better and with more choices. Be patient and proactive

  24. Eddie Smith April 11, 2019 at 9:19 am

    enroll in VA Health Care.

    • RICHARD April 11, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      VA staff members generally make all eligibility determinations. WHERE IS THE CHOICE & WHAT HAPPENED TO THE VETERAN BEING ABLE TO DECIDE ?

  25. Eddie Smith April 11, 2019 at 9:18 am

    I was trying to reply to Susan’s comment above, never used this before and looks like I did something wrong.

  26. Bobby kagels April 11, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Yes it is!im,happy with it.yes I served too .,bunch of whiners,in the real world, like civilian employers,pooh on you.unless your in combat. Your just another civilian in a military uniform.ive had good experiences with small .va outlet clinics.very helpful,with no complaints I have family members who get medical treatment thu the ,buffalo v.a.with great and caring staff!,-,,maybe it has a lot to do with your location.

  27. Edgar Mosier April 11, 2019 at 8:39 am

    The roadblock that has stumped me is multi-fold. The VA supposedly won’t have its’ doctors help with forms for worker’s comp, nor, retirement / disability requests, which seems to equate to “Shaft what is due you, soldier.”, in my humble opinion. I have had VA Medical Coverage for years. Maybe the extra $500 / mo retirement / disability matters not to someone, but I did work for it and have been missing it for seven months because someone cannot fill out two forms, and my SSDI hasn’t started paying, yet.

  28. Ron Mcnally April 11, 2019 at 7:27 am

    Within any VA medical center,the medical provider (doctor or nurse practitioners) may conclude that outside the VA for service(s) is best for you. One of the major issues or problems is that your VA providers will have to deal with is the negative impact they will likely endure via the medical center leadership. There will be drilling questions as to why it’s not kept “in house”. In short, the VA medical providers career would likely take a much rougher road within the VA by trying to do the right thing for you. It’s always going to be about $ and politics and a whole lot less about you the veteran. In some rare cases you may be lucky enough to have a provider doing what’s right.

  29. Eric Alli April 11, 2019 at 6:57 am

    I am having the same problem here in Ohio. While being hospitalized in 2018, VA pulled my top teeth. I asked if they were going to replace them and they said yes. I got discharged before they made dentures and now I can’t get them because I am not 100%…This is ridiculous and should be changed.

  30. Ken Hall April 11, 2019 at 6:23 am

    Contact your congressman. They are you best advocate for you.

    • warner April 11, 2019 at 2:27 pm

      Ken Hall, I have contacted two congressmen and a senator. They are aware of the problems at my local VA medical facility, it’s truly bad, and claim there’s nothing they can do. I just emailed them and the governor and president again yesterday. I’m trying to make sure that everybody is included in this new program the Mission Act.

  31. Kevin Mangum April 11, 2019 at 4:59 am

    I am eligible for VA community care. The biggest kick i get is when you receive authorization for surgery and hospital stay. Then the hospital , surgeon and all others involved in the surgery start sending you bills. I call the VA when they send me the letter that this was not properly authorized and ask how come it says in my authorization it is. Things are changing in VA but the backlog is still there. The other point is a Veteran as to call their VA regional triage on the weekends when the clinics are not open. Go through alot of questions, be told you can go to the ER but the VA might not pay the bill. Oh and don’t forget to call this other number within x hours and let them know which no one ever calls you back from. The ER should only take one phone call to the VA health regional and if saying you are authorized to use the ER that should be final and VA pay the bill. I like alot of Veterans live in a town with only the Clinic and the nearest VA Hospital is 1 hour and 45 minutes away. As far as DENTAL the VA needs to offer this to every Veteran with a disability rating. There are alot of Veterans who need this because of some illness or being diabetic, then they want you to lose weight and eat this and when you tell them how am I supposed to eat that I don’t have alot of my teeth they look at you as if what you can chew. I do have an upper plate of dentures that I can’t wear because I gag constantly on them. The only option I have is for full implants which will cost 30,000.00 dollars I don’t have that type of money.

    • Denzel L Struchen April 11, 2019 at 8:16 am

      My wife had part of her upper plate removed that touched the roof of her mouth , due to gag reflex. Plate stops behind the teeth .

      • Michael reeves April 11, 2019 at 11:46 am

        They have a very good program called adopt a vet your local dental office should have information for you one dentist will only take care of one vet no matter what they need when you have been totally treated can they adopt another vet

    • doug siddens April 11, 2019 at 10:19 am

      Many of the points have also been my experience. False authorizations, bills sent to me by providers, failed call-backs. L_o_n_g wait times to get service through Community Care, confusion between the various departments handling my care.

    • Sgt solson April 11, 2019 at 4:51 pm

      Same with me. I got a prov to go to emergency room private hospitable they kept me for two days. Amontillado later they sent me the bills and the VA in Georgia said I had other insurance so I was not authorized. By the way I don’t have other insurance.

    • Kevin Isom April 11, 2019 at 5:05 pm

      Try calling community care office at the Dallas VA. No matter what time of day you call you get a recording that you have called after business hours or on a holiday. I’ve tried to contact them for two months and still no answer

  32. Francis Edward Garren April 11, 2019 at 4:32 am

    The issue of Dental for all who are at least 50% but not 100% just got put down due to cost. What I find inconsistent with all of this is why not budget for that first before the above? Also I have been told by one of the top mental health doctors at the Asheville VAMC that many of Donald Trump’s signed into law VA reltated legislations, have not had the budget approved to actually make them viable. I hope that is not the case here.

    • Thomas W. Farley April 11, 2019 at 8:16 am

      Talk to your locally elected representative. It is the anti-american and anti-veteran democrats in congress who hate trump so much that they are willing to kill our country.

      • GEORGE SMITH April 11, 2019 at 2:43 pm

        Keep your politics at home. This site is for info not your hatred.

      • lo April 11, 2019 at 6:21 pm

        i dont understand how you can put down amercan veterans just because they are denocrats. we are all human it doesnt matter wha your political view is, we are veterans whether we are republicans or democrats

      • Mike Beal April 11, 2019 at 8:15 pm

        Bull. This erosion of benefits, although touted as a big improvement, has Trump’s and the Republican’s names all over it. This thing was passed before the midterm.

      • Agustin Atherley April 11, 2019 at 10:12 pm

        Cut the crap. The buck stops at the President’s desk. If he really wanted the funds he would have put a fight with the same vigor as his fight for funding his “wall:. He signs VA bills as campaign props. Wake up.

      • Annie S Faison April 12, 2019 at 1:24 am

        Thomas, you are ill-informed; the Democrats want you to have healthcare and they are not anti-American or anti-Veterans. If you take a look at things your president is cutting everything related to military funding just to get a border wall and your Republican congressman are too afraid to say anything about the spending cuts to veterans. The majority of the Dems served in the military and the Repubs that are in office did not. So, who do you think would fight for Veterans, not the Repubs. No one is trying to kill our country, you might want to take a second look at the liar in office who did everything he could to not go to serve this country who has afforded him the luxury he flaunts in the face of the American people. Another thing is it right that his wife and her parents be given citizenship without going through the necessary steps as required for other legal immigrants in this country? Her parents are able to get SS benefits without having to pay anything into the system whether you want to believe it or not, they are eligible. Your VA benefits are going to them. Your president has free healthcare, why not the Veterans who served this country?

        • Bill Compton April 20, 2019 at 9:02 pm

          You are completely off topic and obviously an old guard Liberal It is really disappointing that any woman would be so jealous as to make disparaging remarks against another woman who is working every day to help the wives, husbands and families of our disabled Vets, you are dislikable at best

    • Michael Valdivia April 11, 2019 at 2:14 pm

      The info from your VA regarding signed legislation without a budget sounds so Trump-like. That may very well be. Best to you.

  33. Richard hummel April 11, 2019 at 3:25 am

    we all should have dental its part of a healthy lifestyle

  34. Richard hummel April 11, 2019 at 3:21 am

    slow pay to outside consul and they stop seeing you

    • doug siddens April 11, 2019 at 10:23 am

      Same experience here. An orthopedics doctor’s clinic refused care as did a dentists office for slow or non payment by the VA.

  35. Earl Anthony Root April 11, 2019 at 2:05 am

    I want to know what is being done about VA Disability Ratings. I am currently at 60% and have been fighting to get my unemployableity. I have not been able to work because of my service connected injuries and then you add on all the medications I have to take just to help take a little edge of the pain I deal with away, then add on the side effects from the medications. I have been deemed unemployable by the SSO because of all of this. My own doctors at the VA say that I should have been put at 100% right from the beginning… I am also dealing with rapid tooth decay as a side effect from having to take all these medications. All of my upper teeth are gone above the gum line. I can’t afford dental insurance and by no means able to afford to go see a dentist. Why is it I have to suffer with so much pain physically and emotionally all coming from my service connected injuries. I am very proud to have served my country and would not change a thing…, but I am not proud of how our government has been handling health care for Veterans and how they stonewall Veterans trying to get the rating they should have been put at in the 1st place.

  36. Kathleen L Thompson April 11, 2019 at 1:35 am

    I’m a Service Officer in Post 128 in Maine. I’ve advised my guys to look into VADIP which is a program with Delta Dental and MetLife for veterans for dental care. You can find Delta Dental at You can call MetLife VADIP at 1-888-310-1681 for enrollment and at 1-888-638-4863 for questions about benefits and service.
    My plan is with MetLife and I’ve had good experiences with it. They can give you a list of providers who accept the plans.
    Good Luck!

    • Denzel L Struchen April 11, 2019 at 8:19 am

      The cost vs coverage does not make economic sense. I can use those same premiums and pay less out of pocket

  37. Ray Kenneth Clark April 11, 2019 at 1:19 am

    I have found only two orthopedic surgeons in Nashville Tn willing to accept the Tri-West VA insurance. Choice is not working because the doctors will not accept the insurance.

    • James Yonce April 11, 2019 at 9:43 am

      Same here in N Ga./WNC! No one will take Tri West.

  38. Jimmy D Dickson April 11, 2019 at 12:53 am

    I’ve had the Same treatment My back teeth have been removed since the beginning of my entrance in the service and now I ended up not being able to chew my food in the back area of my Mouth. They don’t feel my teeth with permanent fillings just temporary filling that fall out or break up to not having hard fillings. I’ve told the dentist that the hygienist he send me to can’t toJmmylerate me is hateful and just doesn’t clean my teeth

    • Annie S Faison April 12, 2019 at 1:13 am

      Report her to the board and the dentist. She’s obviously not a professional and is inconsiderate of the fact you served to protect her freedom. What an ingrate.

  39. Ricky Barnes April 11, 2019 at 12:44 am

    The Mission Act is a joke. That revision still does not overall give veterans control over their care. Why would any veteran wish to receive care from a 1-star rated facility? The PHOENIX VA has been a 1-star for 5 consecutive years and not once has that facility been put under the microscope for their 1-star rating. Veterans ask yourself who came up with the Choice idea? I will tell you. It was me! The late Senator John McCain called my idea foolish (Google McCain calls my idea foolish) and later lied to Congress stating it was his idea. I am the veteran who uncovered the PHOENIX VA scandal. Not Dr. Foote. As I continue to fight for great healthcare for all veterans the PHOENIX VA continue to deny me proper care including attacking me for voicing my concerns. I refuse to give up fighting for what is right and until all us veterans march on Washington the VA will control abuse us! So, The Mission Act is not that different from the Choice program. It is another screwed up process where the VA is still in control of your care. It should be your choice and not the VA! Look for my name Ricky Barnes as I have massive PHOENIX VA recordings I am going to make public and the conversations with VA employees are shocking!

  40. Jerry D Williams April 11, 2019 at 12:25 am

    I totally agree with some comments about needing to see a doctor within 24 hours or less. I have had stomach problems that started in 1970 while serving in the Vietnam war zone on the USS Ranger. It has been a constant problem for 49 years now. I have always been under a doctors care for this. When I have a stomach problem and it gets bad I have to get to an ER within about 30 mins. for treatment, if not I have a big chance of going in to A Fib. which is another service related problem that I have had since age 36. I have already had five heart procedures done to control A Fib and I really do not want anymore. I just had another problem with stomach about two weeks ago, I got to the ER about 1:30 am on a Sunday morning and got out at
    4:30 am. I just barely made it there and was almost to the point that I needed help to get into the ER room. There are times when the local VA clinic is closed the we have no other choice than go to the hospital ER. If I have a problem with A Fib I have gone to the clinic and was then sent direct to ER since our local clinic could not deal with this problem. When either of these problems come up there is no way I can make a drive to OKC or Dallas both are over 100 miles away. The VA does get around to paying for these ER visit but during the time it takes them I get billed many times for each visit, have had the hospital turn them over to collection agencys and this is not right nor the way a vet should be done.

  41. Kathleen Murray April 11, 2019 at 12:20 am

    I don’t understand why our veterans are still waiting so long to see a doctor. Our VA took all of the dependents out of the VA hospital system and put us out to community doctors. The last appointment I had at the VA hospital was surprising as it seemed almost empty. I was even able to park close which very seldom happens. The change over for the dependents was handled poorly. Most of us never received any instruction or guidance on how anything was to be handled as far as what doctors we could use or more importantly the costs we would be incurring. My husband is 100% disabled so our income is limited. I now have to pay 25% of the doctor’s bill plus a deductable. Thank goodness I am fairly healthy for my age and only need a couple of prescriptions. I quit going to the doctors because we cannot afford the cost. I see don’t see how this has helped the veterans. The last appointment my husband made was 24 days out.

    • Sean Funkhouser April 11, 2019 at 12:17 pm

      You are eligible for CHAMPVA. Enroll and save.

  42. We deserve better April 10, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    VA needs walk in clinics for stomach bugs and flus that need immediate attention! Aurora health care was great; miss those walk in days. Putting a VA doctor in a shed in the middle of no where just to cover the mileage requirements; VA health care is a joke…you are just another number!

  43. Jim Lincourt April 10, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    The VA in Albany ny is more concerned with ongoing construction than they are about the veteran. Their travel office is a total mess. I have been there 4 times and still haven’t been paid travel at all. The people who use to be in the travel office were very knowledgable . That isn’t the case anymore. The construction was too be completed in 3 phases. Not the case construction is still ongoing. They got rid of the last director due to the fact that the Directors Suite was totally renovated with Gov’t funds. The contractors are rude and believe they can park anywhere they want. There are however some real professional employees who go the extra yard. The wait time for appointments is ridiculous. They always try to push interns to see you instead of doctors. Bad practice let them learn on someone else .

  44. Charles Franklin Pierce April 10, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    Charles F. Pierce. DMM2 12/1955-12-1960. Was drafted 12/1955. Released active duty USS Howard W.Gilmore 1957. Served 4 yrs. reserve Binghamton, NY. . Exposure to 5″38 firepower open deck resulting in hearing loss later in life. Since 1992 have purchased dual hearing aids at least 8 times. Employed at Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL. 1963-1976. Exposed to Saturn 5 first stage strapped down rocket several times..Just purchased new @ $2900. At 89+ yrs. This was the most affordable at my fixed income going back to 1957 retirement.Yes, as an active outdoors person including sports guns, caution was often neglected. Are there provisions for ex military with no combat, such as myself for monetary assistance ?. Thank you for listening.
    Charles F. Pierce

  45. Danny Conyers April 10, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    I have used the Choice Program and it the most inconvenient program I have ever seen. First, my primary recommend my need. Then I have to wait for someone from the program to call and let me know they will call me when I am scheduled for an appointment. Each time it was a three week process. And the followup was even worst. I was scheduled at the doctor’s office who treated. A day before I was called by Choice to inform me, “They will be calling the doctor to arrange my followup.” I told this person I did not need them to call the doctor because my appointment has already been established. I was informed “My appointment cannot be approved until they have made the arrangements.” I was totally frustrated and when they called me two weeks later to tell me “They had approved my doctor’s visit”. I told them in NO APOLOGETIC TERMS “GO TO HELL!” I refuse to treated as some welfare case! This so call no program is no better. It should be my decision to make without this third party (Choice)

    • doug siddens April 11, 2019 at 10:24 am

      Same experience.

  46. Colette Johnson April 10, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    If you are eligible for travel pay and you get yourself, drive or have friend or family drive, you file a claim and get paid mileage. If a service such as the DAV brings you, you do not get travel pay. Hope this helps.

  47. jack carus April 10, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    This is just more BULLSHIT. When you have someone located in your city or town that can give you the same service that a VA contractor can. Only thing is, the contractor will give the VA the answer they are looking for. If you disagree, you don’t have any recourse. If you fight them, you go on a list and they will stall on everything. They are Lieing to President Trump……………..

  48. Ronald Wm Ranft April 10, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    Really, this is an improvement? How? I was given the run around about seeing a local provider had done surgery on me after it had been approved by tri-west when it came time to see him on a follow-up appointment because suddenly he wasn’t an approved Doctor on the Tri-West list who had approved him to begin with. After trying for a year to get the VA to approve a cystoscopy the Dr. called me and said he was going to do it free suddenly the VA and Tri-West said they would pay the Dr. At one point Tri-West/VA wanted me to drive to San Luis Obispo to have the cystoscopy but I was going to have to go there 3 times before he would actually perform the procedure. Twice I’ve had to have emergency surgery at the local hospital because the VA hadn’t scheduled me for the surgery because they didn’t seem to think it was all that important! My local clinic does really great things but the Greater West LA Hospital is a fucking nightmare to deal with. It is more like a slaughterhouse than it is a hospital! And it is a Bureaucratic hellhole!

  49. CHRISTINA M TUITUKU April 10, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    I requested Community Care counseling b/c I am not the least bit comfortable in a group setting. Moreover, I want to finally discuss my MST with a civilian doctor. I never asked the Army or the VA for anything in regard to my suffering from MST. Now nearly 40 yrs after the fact, I want to speak about it. But there are other things, too, which I hope to get sorted out in one-on-one long-term counseling therapy. Guess what? In no uncertain terms, I was flatout denied. Nope. Nada. Zip. If the VA doc denies your request, it’s not like we’ve got any recourse.

  50. Larry Gene Link April 10, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    I use to get dental care when I had 100% disability. I am now at 80% and no longer eligible. That doesn’t make any sense. The fact is they don’t have enough dentists to handle the load of veterans who have dental needs. They will only accept those who had preexisting conditions while in the service and/or 100% disability. That what I was told at the VA dental office in Lincoln, NE. DON’T FIGURE!

  51. Vincent Brown April 10, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    67 and have same problem let me know if you have any luck finding help!!

  52. RICHARD STEPHEN MITCHELL April 10, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    I’m a ‘Senior’ (DOB 5/1/40) with 100 percent, total & permanent disabilities. At home, my wife (DOB 4/10/58) is my Primary Care Provider (ordering & giving me meds; shopping; driving me wherever I need to go (VA, etc.). She can only work part time due to back & foot problems at $10. P/H. She has not served in military service.
    When I am no longer living, what can she expect financially from VA? Dental? Veterans’ Home living/cost?
    When I inquire at VA, I’m informed the policy towards wives change all the time. Is there a policy concerning aging wives of veterans having 100 percent disabilities? Thank you.

    • Brian Millard April 11, 2019 at 12:37 pm

      Go to and look up DIC. The website has a lot more truthful answers then a VA run site.

  53. FRANK CDEBACA April 10, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    I believe that most Veterans receiving care are Viet Nam, Korean, and WW2 Vveterans. We are an older group, travel is time consuming and expensive, additionally, the actual time to travel to a VA facility, the time waiting for treatment, and the time required to return to their home or place they reside should all be taken into consideration and the Veteran should be compensated for all that time invested in getting to the VA facility and return to their residence. While I don’t know what percentage of Veterans reside within a few minutes drive time or close enough to walk to the VA Facility, I would guess that most of us must dedicate a minimum or 3 hours for each visit to the VA facility. While mileage compensation is appreciated, Veterans should be compensated for their time also.

  54. Thomas Caulfield April 10, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    I continually have my eligibility through TriCare expires between doctors visits. I get meds prescribed and before I need the prescriptions renewed the VA approval expires and I am left scrambling to makes sure I don’t run out of medications because the VA didn’t reauthorize my doctors visits and the pharmacy won’t release any medications. The VA requires the provider to ask for the reauthorization instead of taking responsibility for coordinating my healthcare. If you get approval for the Choice Program it should not require constant reathorization for every visit.
    The system is terribly managed and places all the stress and authorizations up to the veteran. This is not a good system and it makes my life much more stressful as I get older.

    • Richard Belanger April 11, 2019 at 9:09 am

      You have to get her signed up as a dependent at the VA, also as it comes to your compensation at 100%, she will receive 60% of this for the rest of her life, remember to go online and under ebenefits make sure all her info is there and correct. As we say do your homework so admin does throw a wrench into the problem.

  55. David Duane Haynes April 10, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    I applied for VA medical a few years ago and was turned down because … so I was told… I have too much income.

    That doesn’t cut it with me. I am a Navy VETERAN! Everyone I’vetalked to about this say that my income should not even enter into it. I am a 4 year Navy veteran. Yes, I do have insurance. I was applying for veteran coverage just in case I would ever need it. As a veteran, I should be eligible.

    David Duane Haynes
    Green Valley Arizona. 85614

    • Carla Cavanagh April 11, 2019 at 7:53 am

      Are you a veteran from active duty service or a reserve component veteran called to active service? This is a huge loophole of which the consequences are only beginning to be seen or felt. I ask the question because if you’re a reservist who was called up (and this also depends on what era), once your 5 year window (which closes 5 years after the date of your discharge from an active duty period) closes, you can only get VA care for any condition that has been determined service connected. If you were active duty all along, I apologize for going down the reserve component rabbit hole, which only gets deeper due to misinformation provided at various times of a deployment. If you served active duty all along, you are correct. You should be eligible for care, but did you serve one enlistment, or retire after 20 years? Were you medically retired but your conditions are such that you could still seek and retain a civilian job (the one providing you health insurance)? Whenever anyone has coverage from a third party payer it seems they will always try to go that route and get what they can. Depending on your “active duty service” the answer isn’t necessarily you being eligible for all medical services without being billed.

    • William Plaumann April 11, 2019 at 9:19 am

      David, I looked into applying for medical a few years back also. I’m a 3 year Army Veteran and also have insurance, but was thinking like you that it would be good for a just in case situation. I found out the same thing regarding income. Anyhow, as best as I can tell that was an older application form with the income/asset section on it to see if we would qualify. It’s my understanding that the newer application form may not include that as I have heard from another Veteran. I have not looked into it since to confirm this but maybe we should. I agree, we should be eligible.

    • Gary Leazenby April 11, 2019 at 9:38 am

      Eligibility is based on 1 of 2 things; either you qualify because of low income – or you have a service connected injury. For now, that is it. Sorry – but, I do agree with you.

    • Michael Valdivia April 11, 2019 at 2:35 pm

      A family member in NV is seeing VA Drs and he has high income. He has only to cover a co-pay. Where I am below their income level in WA n am not charged. You should by rights get your VA services.

  56. Jerry L Davidson April 10, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    The VA put me on blood thinners because of heart problems. In the beginning they wanted me to do blood test three times a week until they got the dosage where they wanted it. I complained that I had to drive 90 mi. round trip to get that done. Why couldn’t I go to the local hospital in my home town and have the test done there? The VA said no problem and gave me an authorization letter to do that. That’s when the billing nightmare began! The problem was that my VA ID card said I was in the veterans choice program. I am not in that program. When the diagnostic clinic tried to bill them, the VA turned it down because there is no record of my being in the Veterans Choice group. After a couple hundred phone calls , all I got was to tell the clinic to bill the VA direct. Apparently no one knew how to get that accomplished! Lucky for me the veterans advocate office had a gal who knew what to do. She phoned the clinic and explained how they could get paid. Even now, after getting an extension on my authorization letter, which I showed the clinic here in my hometown the goofballs started sending me the bills again! That being said, I tried to explain to the VA that the problem was my ID card said I belong to veterans choice, which is wrong and could I get a new ID card with the right info on it. I was told that the VA did all the cards that way and basically there was nothing they could do! You’d think somebody in the system has the authority to fix their damn problems but I guess that’d be too much trouble!

  57. Joe C April 10, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    Unlike some of my fellow veterans, my experience with VA healthcare has been great. Key to success is knowing and ensuring the system is followed by all employees. Sometimes, you have to educate them on the areas that are not within their work areas. The VA has paid her multiple surgeries, PT, and etc, forvmy service connected disability. These have been performed by outside doctors at mon VA hospitals. We as Veterans must be involved in our care, and our voices need to be listened to.

    Thank you Community Care employees for helping me to still enjoy life.

  58. Clifford Bates April 10, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    I agree that dental care should be to ALL veterans and not only to the ones with 100%. This is discrimmination against veterans who has served. This policy needs changing. All veterans need dental care!

  59. Donna Anderson April 10, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    To all my family veterans that have been frustrated here and there, knowledge of good nutrition and how to apply it to our lives is so important. Our VA offices are overworked, underpaid and frustrated just as we are. Take responsibility for helping the VA doctors get you well. I know you are all worth it, the better our health is, the better off the VA doctors will be with being able to review how much better your health is after learning how to help take care of your life while the VA doctors can tell you if what you are doing is working. This information is very valuable, there is hope for a better quality of life and really, that is what we all want, isn’t it?
    Look up these two gentlemen, Lou Corona, with Puralive dot com. And Ron and Honey Logan with DoTerra and Nature’s Sunshine. The nutrition information these people have will change your life. You’ll say to yourself, I never knew life could be so good. They’ve changed my life. My nose cancer healed in 3 weeks with just grapes consumed, lots of them. Lou Corona’s Ginger Blast recipe and Gorilla Milk recipe is amazing. Take the time to educate yourself with these people and as a Vet, you’ll be able to take responsibility for your own health and vitality, without fearing the reliability of doctor appointments and medication. I wish I had known this information years ago, but it’s never to late to gain useful knowledge. Good luck, I love every one of my military folks that I served with and we all deserve better. Take care

  60. DJ April 10, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Complain complain complain. Does anyone have anything good to say about the VA? If you dislike it so much go somewhere else.
    It’s a benefit to go to the VA not s requirement. Yes there are issues but everyplace has them. I’m grateful to have the VA.

    • doug siddens April 11, 2019 at 10:29 am

      Yes, the VA does do good work in many cases. If you’re car’s wheel bearings are good except for one which is failing, do you get it fixed or do you let it cause an accident?

  61. Dwayne Everson April 10, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    At least most of you Veterans get health care. I make just a bit over the allowed money so got declined. I guess in hindsight I should of signed up years ago. So my own fault…………….72-76 USN

  62. John Kolp III April 10, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    I believe I meet the new qualifications for the VA Mission Act and would like to be notified when the Act goes into effect. Please contact me as it grows nearer

  63. J Alpert April 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    On the issue of eligibility I am self-employed and made under the amount required in 2017, but slightly over the amount for 2018 – regardless, the VA said that because I am married (to a veteran) that I am linked to him through the VA system and that when we file taxes as married jointly that together we make too much money for me to get into the VA system (he gets only limited care for his disability rating through Choice). The Eligibility guy told me that there is no way to separate me from my husband on this as the VA system links to the IRS to check on the income being reported. My ACA premium in AZ doubled from last year…and out of pocket costs are high – I should be able to get some VA care,even if I pay a premium or co-pays. The only way for me to get in would be to divorce my husband as filing married but separate would not even work in this situation!

  64. cris g April 10, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    I was set to a outside heart Dr.. He was from India and his scam was getting VA patients in. Have them sign paper saying they are responisible for payment. Than I had every test including blood work which I did at VA. He wont wait for fax of test and ran them. I failed the stress test and he passed me. After a all day ordeal at his office he told me if I bought his bean bread and his book I could cure myself. I did report him and later received calls from all the tests. I responded by call VA. My diabetic Dr at the VA said his mother went to him and it was a scam. I think VA needs to screen their outsource. I TRUST my prime care Dr. Wish VA would do more outsourcing but screen their Drs

  65. Gerald Faul April 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    It’s all 100% lies & the VA is nothing less than a very sick joke / I have no income, no healthcare & no means to survive.

    I’m a white 50 yr. old veteran with 5 yrs. of service that has served Honorably. I was born and raised in this country. I have 8 herniated discs, never smoked, never drank, never used drugs, never committed any crime & never did anything wrong in my life.
    The VA decides who they screw over and pockets the money for our care. They kept telling me I had to be 50 yrs. old before I could get anything because the country was broke & now that I’m 50 yrs old they extended it to 65 yrs old. I have been to dozens of doctors & hospitals, but not anyone will pay for my surgeries so I cannot have any.
    I have contacted all of my state’s representative, congress, dozens of lawyers, both supreme courts & multiple white house administrations. I’m being told that the law does not cover me & I am exempt from protections of the law.
    I have gave the Trump Administration all of the names that screwed me over at the VA & not a single person has got fired.

    • Agustin Atherley April 11, 2019 at 10:36 pm

      Why you felt obligated to mention ok now the color of your skin. The VA screws over everyone, regardless of skill skin color. Trump uses us as a campaign prop. He has showed us how he feels about us. Take the way he disrespects McCain and even General Mathis, didn’t even go to Arlington for Veteran’s day. Wake up folks.

  66. Cheryl Fellers April 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    What about family home care for patients that are 100% service connected Vietnam Veterans and want to stay at home?

  67. TPee April 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    VA has non veteran physicians and mostly non veteran nurses! They are all scared to fight for us veterans and better care because they are threatened at their jobs! I stood up to fight against illegal testing done on my fellow veterans while employed there and I stood up against bullying in the ranks and testified twice to illegal activities within the VA San Diego! Know what happened? I had to resign after 15 years with the VA because they were going to terminate me after I whistleblew. Washington DC did nothing to help me and trust me, I tried and very hard. I am an honorably discharged veteran of the US Navy, served with US Border Patrol and with the State of CA before becoming employed with the VA back in 2013. Every person who elected to fight me and have me terminated were all non veterans! I was hospitalized for the stress and had a breakdown from my PTSD disability because of all the shit the VA San Diego put me through!!!! I have been gone since December of 2017 and I cannot find a job after applying everywhere and interviewing. I am sure the VA has control of this as well.
    So, these people shake in their boots daily on their jobs because if they say anything………..they will lose their careers and honestly, a ton of them could care less anyway about us veterans needing care!!! They are there for the paycheck and the funded UCSD research grants. VA San Diego sucks!!!! SHAME ON THEM AND SHAME ON WASHINGTON FOR NOT HELPING ME OR OTHER VETERANS WHEN WE NEEDED YOU!!!!!!!!!

  68. David Law April 10, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    I went to the va for a lump on my cheek. Was able to get mri 2 1/2 months I got it. They determine it was a tumor. By time I had the mri it had grown 4 times the size. Told my primary care doctor how much it has grown and it was growing at a 10% rate per week. He did not seem to care. Every time he set up for me to see someone another 8 weeks passed. Imagine this growing 10% per week. I requested to see an outside source finial after 4 months got approve. The end result had to have whole left side of face replaced. What happens to any of them for not taking care of me.NOTHING. I have gone through 18 sessions of radiation and I’m now going through chemo because the cancer has spread. What happens to the Doctor that let this happen NOTHING. You can pass all the laws you want it still alows idiots to be called doctors

  69. Dwayne Burd April 10, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    I am using the Community Cares program right now. It is worse than the VA at getting an appointment being that it is “new”. I was told that not enough Specialists outside the VA are online. When I had the actual “Choice” program, I would had been in to see a specialist and scheduled for surgery. I have to wait 60 DAYS for an appointment to see the specialist for a consultation only, through the Community Cares program. This is not helping the veterans at all.

  70. Dwayne Burd April 10, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    I am using the Community Cares program right now. It is worse than the VA at getting an appointment being that it is “new”. I was told that not enough Specialists outside the VA are online. When I had the actual “Choice” program, I would had been in to see a specialist and scheduled for surgery. I have to wait 60 DAYS for an appointment to see the specialist for a consultation only, through the Community Cares program. This is not helping the veterans at all.

  71. Ron Hinkel April 10, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    Both my son and I are vets approved for CHOICE. He especially needs this because he cannot afford to travel some 50 miles to get only spotty care from the VA Medical Center in Augusta. What good is the approval for use of the Choice Program when there is no Choice program where you live? I December 2018 I contacted the Choice coordinator. RN at Charlie Norton VA MC who said there was an ongoing effort to contract out these services by mid-January 2019. I have tried for threes months to get this person to tell me what is going on. No response, no reply, no nothing???

  72. Bill Emilius April 10, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Dental Coverage is NOT provided by the V.A. The V.A. has 2 Group plans, one thru Delta Dental the other thru Met Life.
    Any veteran can buy either group plan at the Group rate. The rates are comparable to most large Group plans.
    The V.A. web site can link you to both for more information.
    As for regular health care it would seem to me that it would make more sense to allow any vet registered with the V.A. to just carry an ID that can get them care similar to how seniors on Medicare get service.
    Sadly it may never be perfect but it can always be improved..

    • William Maynard April 11, 2019 at 7:05 pm

      Yes, just let us choose our own providers in civilian facilities.

  73. Sandra Wade April 10, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    I love my VA Medical providers. VA treats me Well.
    American Lake VA hospital,WA State

  74. Michael Walsh April 10, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    I’ve had tennitis since approximately 1977 and it is now so severe it’s driving me crazy. I was active army from December 1972 until January 1974. I had a Top Secret Crypto security clearance until I was honorably discharged in January 1974. Do I qualify for any VA disability?

    • G. Fred Garnes April 11, 2019 at 11:17 am

      Go to your local Veterans Service Office to inquire. Also, inquire at your local American Legion or VFW. Often times there are people there who are willing to assist you to get what you deserve. Don’t wait any longer.

  75. Marie Basinger April 10, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    My father in law is 103 and his wife is 100. He served in Pearl Harbor and is a WWII Pearl Harbor Survivor. He and his wife lived in MO, but we finally persuaded them to move to OR so that they will be closer to family. We are still waiting to see if he has been accepted for Aid and Attendance. We started the process in Aug 2018. Each time we call we are told either we have a different form to fill out or that they can’t help us because we filled the first firm out incorrectly. We have filled out so many forms that I suspect He will die before he gets his first rejection Letter. Each and every form we fill out goes to different address. We are so confused that we are about to give up. I doubt he will get any assistance. I sincerly hope that others veterans will be able to get the help then need.

  76. David Haught Sheets April 10, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    All good to the eye; however, as ne who is 100% permanently and totally disabled as well as having been enrolled in the VA’s community care program since it began under Health Net/Choice/VAHC, the problem will get worse with more Veteran’s seeking HC services in the rural areas of which my wife and I live – 86 miles to the DC VAMC where I worked prior to retirement and the same to the Baltimore VAMC – I still receive my neurological care at the DC VAMC along with meds, etc. However, fewer MDs and specialists in particular are refusing outright to take on new or any Veterans due to Health Net/Choice and in cases the VA itself not paying bills not just in a timely manner but at all! Yet, as thankful as I am for my PC provider here where we live, the other specialists have been most disappointing as they are not familiar nor do they care for the complexity of problems we Veterans who have served in combat – extensively as this writer did in Vietnam only focusing only on the primary problem the Vet brings to the office. It is not easy to separate such health care needs for the Veteran as compared to the civilian counterpart. Furthermore, in several concerns/letters written to VACO and the Community Care director, never a response…nor professional acknowledgement to my concerns and issues at hand….

  77. Dennis Norton April 10, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    Thank you VA for the wonderful service through my years
    You are the best!

  78. Glen w garrison April 10, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    How will this help me? I had a bad sciatica pain to the point of not being able to walk or get up without help from my wife. The va hospital closest to us is 2 hrs away. In great pain and unable to even ride and get in and out of the car i went to the local emergen y room. Called the next day to va financial, saw my doctor within a few days and had medical records sent which the doctor received while we were with his nurse. Notifed by hosp to call va . They said and i quote, we will not pay for that visit. I said we were told if it was truly an emergency it would be covered if not all but partially. We were told by financial ,quote that we are not allowed to tell the veteran they can’t go to a local er in a emergency , but we will never pay for it! Not under any circumstances if he is not service related va coverage, unquote. Now we have a 2500$ bill we will be paying for about 5 years!

  79. Stephen Walker April 10, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    Somebody needs to tell Lake City about this.

    In February, they scheduled me for an ortho consult in May.
    I mentioned that was a long wait time, and the guy said I
    wasn’t eligible for Vet Choice due to some “medical necessity”
    mumbo-jumbo–even tho they already knew I have a torn
    rotator cuff.

    Not to mention, Lake City’s over a hundred miles from me…

  80. Sucker Veteran April 10, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    My comment was deleted on the grounds that I could not put in a 4 digit Captcha code. Suffice to say, I explained exactly how this is another example of government misdirection and doubletalk designed to make it look like they are doing something when the fix is in and no VA center will do anything different than they ever have. We treat everything. Your appointment was unavoidably detained. We have a clinic you can use. We only pull teeth, We have a great pharmacy formulary. When we kill the ACA, you will be taken care of. And so forth the bull that we all know and love so well.
    The motto of the entire VA is “Cover Your Butt”

    • Sucker Veteran April 10, 2019 at 4:22 pm

      My comment is awaiting “censorship’ by the same sort of people that run the VA.

      • george darley April 15, 2019 at 11:19 am

        Just done the same to me

  81. James Hernon April 10, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    It is getting harder and harder for us to make appoints at our closest VA hospital for tests or treatment. We have a 200 mile RT over mostly 2 lane roads through all the small towns so it averages 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours each way. Our closest local clinic is 45 miles away and we don’t qualify for mileage reimbursement. At our ages it is getting more and more difficult to obtain medical care for me. I am 79 and my wife is 77, and she doesn’t qualify for VA assistance. As with many people our ages we are living on SS benefits and money is getting tighter and tighter every year. We have come to rely on Choice Care more and more because we can see doctors that are closer to where we live. I hope these new regulations eases some of this strain but I am concerned about what happens between June of 2019 when Choice Care is no longer available and 2020 when the new plan actually is supposed to be available for us.

  82. Roy H. Harris April 10, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    I spent thirty minutes writing you a note and the CAPTCHA said it was not correct. I will try again if this works.

  83. Kathy V Brown-Gibson April 10, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    I am 100% service connected. I drive 40 minutes each way to the VA for all my medical. I have a rear form of dystonia and severe cranial vii nerve damage. I have been getting a full mouth dental implants. Due to some time weather or illness I have missed appointments. Because of my facial and vocal muscles from the dystonia and the dentist have to send impression to an outside lab, it is going on two years to get the finish implants. I would like to go to a dentist that have everything on site. How can I just go there and have it completed. Any suggestions?

  84. Rick Martin April 10, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    “So much for quick care!!!”
    The article you’re commenting on indicated that this new criteria is not expected to begin until June 2019. Your wait time is one of the many reasons this act is newsworthy.

  85. David Roberson April 10, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    The corrupt Congress should cancel the $15 BILLION PER YEAR of “foreign aid” and put that money into DENTAL CARE for all OUR veterans at the dentist of their choice. Until then, I am advising all of our young male family members NOT to enlist for any U.S. military service, since I had to learn about these lapses and ungrateful treatment of our veterans the hard way.

    • Annie S Faison April 12, 2019 at 1:41 am

      Amen. Too much money is spent on foreign aid, especially to Israel and there’s nothing left for the Veterans who have faithfully and courageously served their country.

  86. Gary A Bailey April 10, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Question – I live about 25 miles from the VA Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, so if I have a heart attack again who should I seek for medical care – the out of VA Cardiologist that I have been seeing since 2006, or a Cardiologist from the VA that I have never seen. I guess to be safe my decision would be the one who has 13 years of my heart health records and so my health insurance will have to pay as well as myself. The VA will never pay for my heart surgery, or care – that’s why I only go to the local clinic for annual eye check ups since my VA cataract surgery.

  87. Mary Lou Laird April 10, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    What about prescriptions? My husband is not having to pay for prescriptions through the VA since he has 60% disability. Will the VA pay if you see a doctor outside the VA?

  88. Jynie D Wyatt April 10, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    This process doesn’t work. APPROVAL for what to see doctors outside of the VA. BS we fought for our country just get treated like this. I lived in Bakersfield CA which is 2 1/2 hours from the nearest VA Hospital to get seen by a specialist when you are there the doctors looks at you like you have nothing bothering you or trying to take your medications away from you because of the VA regulations. Bull crap….I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year which has been going on for several years and my VA primary doctor kept saying we will do mammogram every six months another BS. Since I have MEDICARE, I found me a primary care doctor that will look out for my health. She saw what the mammogram and requested more testing found out I had breast cancer stage 2 after the biopsy stage 1A. They took out my cancer and now living cancer free if I waited for my VA primary doctor it probably could of spread. Since 2011 I have seen seven different psychiatrist doctor, every single one of them was forcing me to stopped taking Clozenapam due to VA regulations except on doctor which the VA refused to renewal her contract. I still have ringing in both of my ears and still they are doing nothing about it. I suffer with chronic migraine headaches since 2001 and no pills has helped me with my issue nor will they approve botox to see if that helps me with my chronic migraine headaches. I refused to be seen at the VA Clinic but have to pay out of pocket to get the treatment I deserve. APPROVAL BULL CRAP….I AM 100% DISABLED VETERAN WHY WOULD I SHOULD GET APPROVAL FOR….YOU WANT TO BETTER VETERANS HEALTH WHY NOT PAY FOR IT ALL….WE GAVE OUR LIFE AND YEARS THAT WE CAN NOT TAKE BACK.

  89. Roger Culbertson April 10, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    Ah, if only I fit in one of the categories! A trip to my nearest VA is 750 miles! Each way! I recently had to make a 1500 mile round trip just to get ONE prescription. Unfortunately I live ( For the last 30 years) in Mexico. Unfortunately no one ever addresses this situation, and there are thousands of us. Plus comparable health care here is much, much, cheaper than the US. It would amount to a big savings for the VA as well as a huge benefit to me and the other ex-pat veterans.

  90. Jeffery Santoro April 10, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    I had a stroke on March 20th, after 5 attempts, I cannot get authorization to see a neurologist, because my primary care team has to refer me.2 appointments with my primary caregiver, who is a PA, not a DR. Has the power to determine whether I can see a neurologist for a brain condition, despite a formal complaint to patient advocacy, not any of them has asked a single question about what affects the stroke has caused ,not once have they done any kind of evaluation,or even taken my blood pressure. Yet I still have no choice in the care I receive[ or don’t receive]

  91. Don Lagasse April 10, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    If and when you’re sick (very bad cold, breathing problems, flu and/or complications), you should be able to be seen within a day by a doctor and not have to wait 20 days or more for an appointment. Vets should be able to see a Dr. immediately and if the VA cannot see them in such cases, a Vet should have the right to go to a local doctor for treatment.

    • frank nasso April 10, 2019 at 5:34 pm

      Don, don’t know about the facilities in your area. My hospital here in Boise has walk in clinics for ever one of the team groups.
      If all else fails, the ER is always open.
      Hope this helps

    • Sandra Wade April 10, 2019 at 5:56 pm

      Most VA hospitals have a walk in clinic to address these issues

    • Glenn D Schaefer April 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

      I agree with you.

    • Charles Huff April 10, 2019 at 7:29 pm

      People say what they want to say about my VA but I got one thing to tell you on December 26th of 2018 I walked in the VA and didn’t know if I was going to walk out they took such great care of me they were good to me even when I was an a****** yes sir I said it and now I’m breathing better feeling better walking better doing better thank you VA thank you “That DAMN Charlie Huff “

    • BARBARA J SANDERS April 10, 2019 at 7:47 pm

      You can go to the VA ER. You can also do a walk-in with your primary care physician. If you like sitting on uncomfortable chairs for a very very very very long time. I’ve done both.

    • Jeff Krause April 10, 2019 at 10:22 pm

      You can just be prepared to pay for it your self maybe maybe not what I was told when thought I was having heart attack

    • warner April 11, 2019 at 12:44 am

      Conversation starred.
      Conversation opened. 1 read message.

      This below is a letter I have sent to congressman, a senator, the president and Military Times. Veterans cannot get local healthcare at our local VA medical facility here in Salem, Oregon as it is closed to new patients. Being as we live within 40 miles we get denied to have a doctor to care for us and are forced to drive for an hour or more to Portland, Or. Hopefully the Mission Act will consider than some VA medical facilities are closed to veterans no matter what your problem is, I know first hand. A VA nurse told me she considers what is going on genocide. No doubt people have died due to no care here and I have to figure this is going on all over the country.

      Greetings, I am a veteran living in Salem Oregon and have tried to get a local PCP but have been turned down because they say I have a medical facility too close. Yes it’s five miles but they had over 800 veterans waiting for a doctor as of two years ago. They are not taking new patients. They can’t even keep a full staff of doctors because they keep quitting but I won’t go into why but rest assured it’s a disgrace.

      My main concern is that I have been told that the Choice program requires you to live more than 40 miles from a care facility. Well those of us in Salem do because you can go into the local VA facility with possible pneumonia and they will tell you to make the one hour drive to Portland’s emergency VA facility. We have no place for help. This is first hand knowledge I am giving you as I am the one who went in with breathing problems and a temperature of 101.2!

      The Mission Act must consider those of us who live near a facility but cannot get help there so we don’t get screwed again. I was seriously concerned I may not make it when they turned me away at the local VA facility. We need to make sure that if a veteran cannot get local healthcare from the VA then they are eligible for community care just like everyone else in the country. If you can get this information to the right people many veterans will be grateful. Thank you for your time.

      Warner Holfeld

      • Thea Gove April 11, 2019 at 6:27 pm

        I’d like to tell you one of my many stories about trying to deal with these 40 mile rules in the Boston VA System. I get my primary care there. I live over 50 miles away. Because of the daily traffic conditions it takes me 2.5+ hours to get there, even at 6am. It’s the same with the 24 Urgent Care which is in West Roxbury. I have been told that I do not qualify for community care because there is a VA facility in Portsmouth NH and in Manchester NH which are both under the 40 mile criteria. Note that these are in NH under the Manchester NH VA System, and my Primary Care is in the Boston VA system. I have a service connected disability. A few years ago I had an emergency situation that had to do with that condition. The VA national after hours phone line told me to go to Manchester NH. A friend drove me. I was told that I would be admitted, so my ride went home. Then I was told that I would be taken by ambulance to Concord NH hospital (not part of VA) because Manchester had no services for my affliction. I had tests done in concord and medication prescribed, but they decided I did not have to be admitted. I was put in a “free” taxi and driven to the Manchester VA. That was as far as they could bring me. I was left in the empty parking lot at 3am and had to find my own way home. To top it off, I couldn’t get my “emergency” medication filled because it had to go through the Boston VA first. I went 2 days without. This is just one of the many situations I have found myself in because the rules say you have to live over 40 miles away from the closest VA. The closest VA to me is in another state and in another VA System. The different VA systems don’t “talk”. For instance, my primary care doctor can’t put in lab orders for me in the Portsmouth VA because she is part of the Boston VA. Yet I get denied every time to go to a community VA because another VA is under 40 miles away. The law doesn’t take into consideration that it is a different VA system and I can’t get the services I need. This new law coming up still looks at the 40 mile rule. It needs to recognize that in some places that takes you to VA systems that aren’t a part of each other. What can I do? The VA in Boston told me (after many different inquiries) every time that “I LIVE IN THE WRONG PLACE”. That is unacceptable and I suffer great hardships and lack of care because of this.

        • warner April 12, 2019 at 12:53 pm

          Thea, I feel your pain. I have been doing research and am trying to make sure that the Mission Act doesn’t have to same loophole denying thousands of veterans their needed health care. You can call the Committee on Veterans affairs directly and an intelligent competent person will answer the phone. I was given the email address of a person I was told would call me within 48 hours. I’ve once again contacted my congressman and senator and governor but expect the same reaction as last time, nothing. Do a Google on VA healthcare problems. There are journalists who specialize in the VA medical world. Email them. I will be starting that process today. The so called advocates at the VA just want me to go away however leaving numerous veterans to suffer and die I cannot do with good conscious.

          Even if I get nothing out of it myself if I can see to it that no veterans are once again left high and dry like with the Choice program I will be happy. I would actually appreciate it if you would help me and at least contact journalists. So far I am on my own because nobody cares no matter what they say. One of the many people who have called this last week to try to convince me to go away tried to tell me that my area is unique. I have since learned otherwise and already figured the same problem has to be going on all over the country. I am going to work today also to try to see to it that the Mission Act includes everybody whether they live near a facility or not. What is going on at my local facility is awful. It may be a blessing that I can’t go there. Either way I certainly wish you well and maybe we can work to get the government to include everybody this time. I don’t want to make this post any longer due to boring anybody but will check back.

    • Peggy Damato April 11, 2019 at 3:11 am

      EXACTLY! Why can’t the VA see this? A vets life is on the line if he has a heart condition and get the flu or breathing issues. My husband has Parkinson’s ~ we fear when he has breathing issues, as the VA nurse on line will say go to any nearest ER room. We did that once and the bill was $75,000.00, of which the VA refused to pay a penny because they said you could have had him transferred to the VA hospital. I as veterans wife did not because his life was in danger to transfer him. I called John McCain to help me get the money reimbursed, he said in letters I still have, he was working on the issues with the VA. Then one day (a year later) that the case was closed as the VA has investigated and we refused to go to the VA. BUT, I had told McCain that the VA had previously misdiagnosed my husbands condition with their X-rays, which in letter form I received the day my husband was in surgery at the Honor Hospital. So, we are still a long way from having fairness still. McCain was not a friend to VETS, he was for himself, making his points with the VA executives was more important to him than my husbands issues. Since this my husband had brain surgery due to Parkinson’s and the VA did pay for this in full, but no thanks to McCain, thanks to Donald Trump for helping get things turned around at the VA in Phoenix (executives). Things are better, but still have serious issues, like the VA said my husband does not have skin cancer on his forehead, but we were out with friend, two were retired private practice doctors and said they want him to go see a skin specialist that takes a biopsy (the VA in 2018 took a photo of the spot and diagnosed no melanoma from a photo they said they blew up to inspect!!!) ~ we have an appointment again next week with his VA doctor at the Shea Clinic, she will be asked by me to refer my husband to a specialist “outside” the VA. I am getting too old to be a caretaker and driving 45 minutes (only 8 miles to VA, but traffic is awful) to take my husband so far, they need to let me take him close to home. He is now having kidney issues. We want to die in place, in our own home, or place we choose, not forced to be in a rest home because of inability to get to the VA. Maybe an age of the Vet needs to be considered. Homecare is not what he needs, he needs to be able to get blood work, urine testing, and urgent care on same day at a doctor of our choice, I hope when the rule makers are almost 80 they have the rules changed, or they will rue the day they didn’t make these changes for present day needy Vets. This is my third husband, all served, all Vets. I was widowed twice but we had private insurance and did not take the VA benefits as we had financial means, but now as we are aging, finances are not as good, therefore we are forced to use the VA services, yet we have not been allowed benefits because we married, if we divorced the VA said I could receive $ as the caregiver! Another awful rule. Awful that the VA suggests we not be married to get more help. Awful and sad. I became an au