Representatives from VA and the Veteran Community went LIVE to discuss this month’s changes to Veterans health care. Click on the video and turn up your volume!

The MISSION Act will strengthen the nationwide VA Health Care System by empowering Veterans with more health care options. But what are these options and how is eligibility determined? Recently leaders from Wounded Warrior Project, American Legion and AMVETS joined Dr. Jennifer MacDonald, MISSION Act Lead for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and Dr. Kameron Matthews, Deputy Undersecretary for Community Care, to discuss these health care changes and what Veterans must do to access them during a #ExploreVA Facebook Live event.

Chanin Nuntavong, Director of Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation for American Legion, began the discussion by asking the VA representatives to explain the MISSION Act and how it will impact Veteran care. Dr. MacDonald answered by saying that this is legislation VA welcomes.

“It strengthens VA, and it strengthens our ability to deliver the right care at the right place in the right time.”

She went on to say that Veterans will see an increase in telehealth, the ability to bring care right into their living rooms, and streamlined community care programs, all of which should increase access to care close to home.

Jose Ramos, a Legislative Director for Wounded Warrior Project, asked if Veteran’s must do anything to re-establish eligibility in order to continue seeing the same VA providers they see now.

Dr. MacDonald assured Mr. Ramos that Veterans would be able to continue seeing the same care teams that they see now. Dr. Matthews added that to access care in the community, the first step is to consult your VA care team to determine eligibility.

“There is no additional enrollment. Once you are enrolled in VA and once you work with your care team you will just have increased ability to access the community in order to meet your needs.”

Sherman Gillums, Chief Advocacy Officer for AMVETS said that by now many Veterans have received a letter and brochure from VA. He went on to ask, “On June 6th a lot’s going to happen, but when I walk into a VA medical facility what are those additional benefits that I should see?”

Dr. MacDonald urged Veterans to use the VA brochure and website as primary resources to answer questions. that’s where the most updated information will be…and importantly that VA brochure discusses a new urgent care benefit  that gives Veterans the ability to seek urgent care close to their home, as long as they’ve have used VA care in the past 24 months.”

Dr. Matthews underscored the value of the new urgent care benefit but emphasized that the urgent care provider must be one of VA’s contracted providers which can be located by contacting your VA care team or using VA’s locator tool.

There were over a thousand comments and questions from Veterans on the post.  If you missed this event, check out some of the highlights below.

Facebook Live Q&A 1








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Some Veterans wanted a copy of the MISSION Act brochure.

Facebook Live Q&A screenshot 4





Others wanted to know more about VA’s telehealth programs.

Facebook Live Q&A 5a










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Veterans asked for more information about eligibility and if disability ratings made an impact.

Facebook Live Q&A 6







Several Veterans had questions about whether authorizations given under the choice program would stand.

Facebook Live Q&A 7










Representatives directed Veterans to their VA care team as a first step.

Facebook Live Q&A screenshot 8






Representatives shared information about what to do in case of emergency.

Screenshot 9 from Facebook Live Q&A







Thank you to all Veterans, service members and their supporters who participated in the event. Stay tuned to the ExploreVA events page for information about upcoming events.

For more details about VA benefits and how to apply, visit

Watch the full video above or visit VA’s Facebook page.

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Published on Jun. 13, 2019

Estimated reading time is 3.9 min.

Views to date: 260


  1. Michael Cranfill June 26, 2019 at 10:27 am

    Eligibility or being referred still requires the VA to approve. This is not clear in most cases. The VA states you need to be so many miles from care but then they say you might have a clinic near you even though the Hospital might be further away the VA will say you can not go to a outside Hospital since your clinic is closer. In an emergence or what you may thick is an emergency you do not always have time to call your VA so in that case you would assume your judgement would be just get to a hospital but that’s not the VA outlook. The VA does not always have they same options for medical treatment Advance forms of surgery, or other types of treatments. Choice, Tri-west require referrals the process takes months, you can never talk with one person that can give you an answer your spend hours and days just trying to get an answer, they bounce you back and forth and in my case follow up was before I had just began the treatment. My case I have had several MRI’s for my neck and lower back yet I have never been shown any of the images, I have been told I should be operated but the VA will not tell me the specifics of how long I may be in the Hospital, or if I will need physical therapy, what type or how long. I live alone and how I would get help during this time who might care for my two dogs? Instead I am told I am difficult and hostile patient for asking such questions. How is this program any different than all the programs the VA has used and has failed so many? Telling me I have chronic pain and should learn to live with this s all I have heard for over 10 years. Just think if they had listen and treated me or given me options to repair or cared about my issues. The VA is one of the worst cares and the doctors are not the Best. Just one more program that is part of the problem not a solution. When you police yourself that is a conflict and the VA seems to just start more programs without never fixing the ones they already have.

  2. Robin G Blaine June 20, 2019 at 3:09 am

    I can’t even get the VA to pay for an emergency ambulance for an authorized Veterans Choice dental procedure that almost resulted in my death. It did result in a 15 day hospitalization, inclusive of 10 days in ICU,, a helicopter transfer to another facility2 surgeries, but they’re refusing an unauthorized ambulance! This fight has been going on for a year now. They say they’ll do all these things, but even when authorized, try getting them to pay.

  3. Pam DeVine June 18, 2019 at 7:51 am

    My concern is that everything that is offered by way of webinars is always done on Facebook. I left Facebook years ago and I know that I am far from alone, so that means I will always be behind the curve when it comes to knowing what is going on with programs in the VA. That is especially concerning when dealing with changes that are as sweeping and important as the new Mission Act. VA has an extensive website, why can’t this type of communication be conducted through that website????

    I live about 100 miles from the nearest VA hospital and travel there for treatment often. 100% service connected. Many of the new methods of communication, especially the video chat capability/telehealth, are of much concern to me but I have no idea how to use it.
    Easy access to current information is pivotal to all of us and is the base of obtaining care.

  4. SSS June 14, 2019 at 11:40 pm

    Is there an ongoing problem transitioning from triwest to care in the community, when having to locate and appoint a new PCP? One of the problems I foresee is monthly medications if another PCP is not found in a timely manner.

  5. Joseph Kennette MacPherson June 14, 2019 at 11:26 am

    I am an 80% service-connected disabled veteran. I live in Thailand, and received a benefits letter from the Foreign Medical Program that reduces my earned benefits from full healthcare to just what is listed as service-connected. Now that veterans in the U.S. are able to use community-care options instead of VA hospitals far away ( I am very familar, having lived in Bend Oregon and required to travel 164 miles one way to Portland for care when i lived there), the earned benefits for Veterans living abroad has been reduced. I applaud the MISSION Act, but i also want Veterans overseas to have the same rights as Veterans living within the U.S. There is no reason why our healthcare shouldn’t be the same, especially considering healthcare anywhere outside of the U.S. is LESS EXPENSIVE. Why shouldn’t we get our full benefits? I would like to hear a reasonable answer to this question.

    • Reginald Joules June 14, 2019 at 5:35 pm

      I live in Texas, but I agree that your question is logical, worthy of a reasonable answer. I hope you get one from VA. My guess is that VA’s concern may be potential fraud, and the effort involved in investigating fraud in other countries.

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