Do you have questions about Community Care?

VA provides care to Veterans through community providers when it cannot provide the care needed, whether because of time, distance, or other special considerations. Community care is based on specific eligibility requirements, availability of VA care, and the needs and circumstances of individual Veterans.

VA also provides health care to Veterans’ family members and dependents through programs like the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA). This care is also provided based on specific eligibility requirements, which varies by program.

Join the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Community Care on Wednesday, July 31, at 4:30 p.m. ET for a question and answer session about community care.

Dr. Kameron Matthews, Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Community Care, will answer questions from Veterans, service members, and family members about community care, urgent care benefits, family member programs, and more.

Dr. Matthews will answer questions on July 31, 2019, from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. ET. 

Participating in the event is easy:

  1. Become a RallyPoint member. To become a verified military or Veteran member – and participate with more than 1.7 million other Members – visit
  2. Visit the Q&A session to post, view, or vote on questions BEFORE the event goes live:
  3. Visit the live session (same link as above) to receive real-time updates DURING the event on July 31 (4:30-5:30 pm ET).

If you want to participate in the discussion, type your questions in the response section of the session. For those unable to attend the Q&A session on July 31, RallyPoint will archive the event for later viewing.

Jason T. Strickland is the Director of Communications for VHA’s Office of Community Care. Strickland is a retired Army officer who has been with VA for three years.

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Published on Jul. 22, 2019

Estimated reading time is 1.5 min.

Views to date: 378


  1. D Berger August 9, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    The VA Mission Act is a great change, and appreciate. There are a couple of small problems.

    1. The program was opened to all Veterans rather than test the new program by starting with a smaller group, such as Veterans in priority 1 – 2. That is a large sample but small enough not to over load the program until the bugs are worked out.

    2. Outside providers such as an orthopedic surgeon should be allowed to treat the Veteran as needed for other conditions that was not found on the earlier exam. Example the Dr finds that the Veteran also has a lower back issue, which is in the realm of the Drs expertise. The Dr can not treat without a new SAR. A new SAR can take months in the mean time the Veteran’s condition worsens.

    3. The outside provider using the orthopedic surgeon as the example “needs” to have an MRI to better detail the Veteran’s treatment. They can not without another SAR, again can take weeks/ months. Solution? the Provider should be authorized to order an tests that are considered normal for treatment of the Veteran, currently they are not..

    4. Consules authorizing a provider should be good for up to a year before having to submit a new request. This would allow for followups and additional treatment as needed.

    I get a feeling the ones at the VA approving SAR’s are concerned the VA is headed to privatization so they do their best, including TriWest, to make the out-side treatment appear unsuccessful.

  2. Terry L Winbush August 8, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    My VA medical Doctor wanted me to have a CR scan. At the local VA center that service is not available. The closet VA center that can do the CT scan is about 85-90 miles from my home. Under the Mission Act I should be able to get service at a local provider . My Va Doctor did request the scan in June 2019 when I last had a yearly check up. I have receive 2 calls from the VA to make the appointment . I told them that My Doctor said that I should be able to get it local because of distance to nearest provider. The ordered the CT scan in June 2019. I have let him know of this situation via e-mail. He replied that he sent in the order. It how August 2018 and I still have not been notified about using local service. So what is the problem ? The Mission Act was to make it easier to get care but does not appear so.

  3. Joy Marshall August 6, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    When I see a community care provider for a Specialty Service such as Botox, my VA requires me to physically bring proof of the appointment and the benefits travel reimbursement request to their Outpatient Clinic for submission. I know the rules say you can mail it to the facility and I have also been told you can fax it to the facility however I was told by the travel person they are always lost if they’re mailed and they do not reach the right person if they are faxed so I must physically bring in the paper. By the time I pay for gas to physically take the paper to the Outpatient Clinic, I might as well not have submitted the papers for reimbursement at all because one offsets the other. Is there going to be electronic reimbursement Community Care mileage at some point in the future?

  4. Katherine Hedlund July 31, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    No matter what i did and instructiins followed, i could not get to the online session


  5. J.T. July 31, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Has this been postponed? Not seeing anything live at the link

  6. G.I. Joe July 31, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    If I had the email address of Dr. Kameron Matthews, I would send her this:

    Dear Dr. Matthews:

    The VA’s two groups known as Community Care and “ASK AN ATLANTA PATIENT ADVOCATE$” as well as TriWest Healthcare Alliance, its scheduler of visits to non-VA-affiliated medical facilities, are not providing me with timely medical care. For example, I have tried for years to get a VA-paid sleep study in order to obtain physician-documented evidence to send to the VA to support my appeal of the VA’s denial of my disability claim. The VA stated in a letter I would be tested by Gordon Hospital in Calhoun, Georgia, through Community Care. After receiving a telephone call September 20, 2017, from Allie, the director of Gordon Hospital’s sleep clinic, that there had been a cancelation of someone else’s sleep study, I went that night to Gordon Hospital for the sleep study. Patience, Gordon Hospital’s registration clerk, told me, after telephoning Greg, the director of registration, that she could not provide me with documentation that the VA would pay for my test at any time other than between the dates shown on my VA letter: “10/12/2017 – 11/20/2017″. Consequently, my first trip there was wasted.

    On October 10, 2017, Allie called again and told me there had been another cancelation and asked me whether I wanted to be tested. I replied, “We’ve been through this before. We have no proof the VA will pay for a test before 10/12/2017.” On October 12, 2017, I returned to Gordon Hospital for the sleep study. Samantha and Mackensie, Gordon Hospital’s registration clerks, required my signing a digital tablet, agreeing to pay for the sleep study. They claimed my signature would not obligate me while they concealed the fine print on an underlying screen and would not produce a printout of the admissions form after I had requested it. Realizing Samantha’s lie and Mackensie’s deceit, I asked Charley, Gordon Hospital’s security guard, to witness their dishonesty and told him this was my second trip to Gordon Hospital for the study. Again, I was unable to get a VA-paid sleep study and unable to afford one. Gordon Hospital’s management ignored my subsequent emailed requests for an investigation.

    Several times during 2018 I tried to get help through various providers at the VA Clinic in Rome, Georgia, but my attempts were futile. Furthermore, in January and May of this year I brought this matter to the attention of Community Care’s Mr. Paul Riopel via secure message’s triage group ASK A VA COMMUNITY CARE QUESTION$. He wrote January 23, 2019, “Your sleep consult will be uploaded to TriWest.” After I contacted him again, he wrote May 07, 2019, “It was uploaded to TriWest but it looks like they haven’t contacted you yet. I will get with TriWest and have them expedite.” I called TriWest Healthcare Alliance and spoke to Yola, its representative on May 08, 2019. She said she would have its appointment team contact me, but it has not.

    I tried to bring these failures of the VA and Gordon Hospital as well as other matters to the attention of the Atlanta VA Medical Center’s new interim director via the VA’s secure-messaging system, but Janelle Hughley, the VA’s Patient Representative, wrote in a secure message, “He does not have secure messaging,” and she did not provide me with his email address. Furthermore, instead of scheduling my requested, second, VA-paid, Community-Care colonoscopy in Rome, Georgia, where I live and which is located in Northwest Georgia, the VA scheduled me an appointment for this colonoscopy in Decatur, Georgia, at the Atlanta VA Medical Center to occur on the same day as it scheduled a Community-Care, in-lab, sleep study in Macon, Georgia, which is in middle Georgia. On July 08, 2019, I asked via secure message’s triage group ASK A VA COMMUNITY CARE QUESTION$’s representative Mr. Paul Riopel, “…why did you schedule a sleep study at Sleepmed of Central Georgia, to which I cannot drive, instead of in North Georgia, where I live, and to conflict with my colonoscopy?” On July 14, 2019, I emailed the following to TriWest’s Camellia Walton, “Who preposterously scheduled an appointment for me in a different part of the state than the one in which I live to occur on the same day as the VA had scheduled me an appointment in Decatur, Georgia? Since I have never spoken with you and you refuse to answer this question, your failure at community care necessitates my request that you return my case to the VA, which provides both healthcare and transportation to it.” I have not received her reply. Unable to reach the director of the Atlanta VA Medical Center, I emailed my request for help to Congressman Tom Graves, but I have also not received his reply. Will you reply?

  7. Jill Johnson July 31, 2019 at 10:58 am

    Where is this being held? Or is it just online ?

  8. Yaury Victoria July 30, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    It’s very interesting that as a Woman Vet and a single parent living in the vicinity of one of the largest Army installations in the world, you still can’t find resources for your family. There’s so many pop up veterans services around town that receives so much funding from our government and private donations from many, many donors, including vets themselves. But…you knock on these doors seeking relief from a possible financial catastrophe which could result in homelessness or shelter survival and get the cold shoulder or there is a specific type of veteran that “May” qualify. Amidst all these governmental chaos and disruption due to their inability to trust themselves, the citizens are paying the price. For many single parents like myself have been on a waiting list for a while for help with child care subsidies. Since the gov seems to be playing bowling with their brains at the moment I’ve tried to ask veteran services. And as mentioned above, the red tape comes out to deter you from all the poking and prodding along with a wait time that will surely leave you with a few grays and wrinkles due to its length.
    If we as the honorable veterans we are, commit to a cause (regardless of its name/s) to help each other strive, to help our families when in need. To raise each other’s spirits when it has fallen and to promise each other in being a wingman, then why is it that you are still slamming your doors and turning your backs? Don’t you know that deadweight is harder to stand than a bent spirit?
    I had gotten a feeling more than a few times from some organizations that I may be looking for handouts, that if help is given maybe I may be a repeater or the lingering and focused look into my eyes to check for signs of being a user.
    Don’t involve yourself into something that your heart is truly not driving.

  9. Anonymous July 30, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    The community care system is a scam… you still have to wait at least a month to see your Primary Care Provider at the VA and wait that much longer to get a referral. Such rude staff at the Georgia VA… so much for taking care of our veterans!

  10. Charles Maggart July 26, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    There are problems with this system. 1. People don’t know how to communicate to patients. 2. What’s in the computer isn’t necessarily correct. I was notified within a week of seeing my primary care to schedule an appointment. Was told community care would be faster then 2 months at the hospital. I agreed to it. When I did not receive a call from the provider I contacted our local community care office. Was told I would receive a call in a few days. I called 3 times in the next 4 week period to notify the local office that I had not received a call from a provider after being informed my request and info was submitted to two providers. Long story short, when a patient calls 3 times in a 4 week period somebody may want to find out what the problem was. I eventually received a letter from a provider indicating an appointment in January of 2020 after I contacted the local VA again to schedule a provider in the VA hospital. I did finally receive a local appointment which took about 3 months. Moral to story, if you don’t receive a call in the time frame specified go to their office and do a face to face and demand action. Do something other than look at the computer. Just talking on the phone doesn’t work.

  11. Tom Jones July 25, 2019 at 12:35 am

    How about having people who used to be in service, work for the VA. Instead of these civilians who think they are better than everyone and are doing all the veterans a favor by checking us into our appointments after they finish telling there co workers about something there boyfriend did. Y’all really need to consider Visiting Little Rock VA just to see a small glimpse of the problem VA’s are having across the nation. You need to start holding them accountable for there actions instead of this “don’t do it again or you will be reprimanded” bull crap. Give the jobs to vets who know what it feels like and wants to help fellow veterans.

  12. Bold Justice July 24, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    In the VA Madison WI, you need to staff that operation with personnel that have a brain and speak clearly in the American English language. Above all, are knowledgeable about their job, and are willing to work assisting VETERANS.

  13. william calise July 24, 2019 at 7:56 am

    I was getting cancer treatment at UF Shands in Gainesville Florida based off of a referral from the VA Gainesville urology department for outside care I’ve been seeing them for Cancer Care now for a while and I get a phone call from UF today telling me my appointments have been canceled because the Florida Community Care office in Central Florida is refusing to talk to providers or vets and not reauthorizing care and here I am a cancer patient and the VA now is going to cut my lifespan because the Community Care director Claudette is too lazy to do her job this is not the first time this woman is done this to vets and she needs to be removed

  14. Frank Sottile July 23, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Local support for our Veterans is badly needed.
    Unable to endure the over 100 miles road trip to San Antonio or the 55 miles road trip Austin, I have NOT seen a Doctor in 4 (going on 5) years.
    I buy my Eyeglasses at Walmart and replacement Braces off eBay.
    I feel that the VA has fail me and a lot of other Veterans.
    This failure and lack of local support has even resulted in the lost of more than one life!

  15. Kenneth Perry July 23, 2019 at 3:49 am

    I had been getting accupuncture until TriWest took over in April. They repeatedly lied to me until my consult was no good and my doctor had to begin the process over with a new consult. I called and let them know that a new consult was completed and they said within 2 weeks someone would contact me. Well surprise they didn’t and after 5 weeks i called again all apologies and someone would call by the end of the day. Its been another week and i am in agony. I am contacting my congressman if i dont hear from them today. When the VA staff handled this i never incurred these problems. Tri West needs to have their contract ended!
    Instead of increasing capacity for care they seem to insure the lack of care!

  16. Chad Childers July 22, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    It would be cool to VA one let the veterans use what doctor they see for Primary Care in any other specialty appointment. I know that’s a lofty but that would be awesome

Comments are closed.

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