The success of VA’s new Community Care program is contributing to an increased number of Veterans accessing care and revealing VA career recruitment needs in key medical specialties, according to VHA Executive in Charge Dr. Richard Stone, who testified on Sept. 25 before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health.

Launched on June 6 as part of the MISSION Act, the Community Care program aims to provide Veterans with more options for timely, high-quality healthcare by streamlining all aspects of community care provisions, including eligibility, authorization, appointments, and claims and payments.

Revealing hiring needs

The Community Care program has already received more than 1 million consultations, fueled in part by an 80,000 increase in the number of Veteran patients accessing VA care. Although this is a strong tribute to the initial success of the program, Stone recognized a residual need to hire more medical specialists to accommodate VA’s growth.

“We have some very difficult areas in the country where we have trouble recruiting,” he said, specifically citing growing demand for providers in gastroenterology, neurology, neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery.

With 1.6 million more ambulatory appointments this year than in fiscal 2018, Stone said VA may need legislative relief to accomplish its more ambitious recruitment goals. He noted that VHA is already transforming its human resources and workforce management protocols in preparation for even more Veterans choosing VA for their healthcare needs.

Providing greater access to care

“The bottom line is, the MISSION Act is a success,” Stone said. “We have improved how we do all aspects of our business, from scheduling of appointments to referring Veterans to specialists, thus resulting in enhanced services for our enrolled Veterans.”

Committee members of both parties largely agreed that VHA’s implementation of the Community Care program has been instrumental in expanding Veterans’ access to quality care.

“Our priority remains the integration of Veterans’ care, when and where they need it,” Stone said.

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Published on Oct. 4, 2019

Estimated reading time is 2.1 min.

Views to date: 159


  1. tips sehat October 16, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    thanks, this info is very interesting when I read

  2. Clifton Wayne Casteel October 11, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    The VA does some good but it’s not a shinning crown. I was a VA service connected member for 15 years. The VA will provide a service for years then one day out of the blue they say, “the VA will no longer provide this service”. No explanation, no reasoning, no individual interview, just stopped providing a service. I transitioned to the private sector and am perfectly satisfied. Doctor Stone can say how great it is but I suggest everyone take that advise with a grain of salt!! Any single payer system can jerk it’s patients around any way it pleases and there is absolutely nothing one can do. The only benefit the VA has over the private sector is cost for a service but that is not a big issue.

  3. Robert Groves October 10, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    Hardly a success. I have patients from June still awaiting appointments. I have patients with tumors still waiting initial oncology appointments to begin cancer treatment 75 – 120 days later. I have patients with positive FIT tests awaiting diagnostic colonoscopies 60 – 90 days later. I have patients with chronic cardiomyopathy who were seeing a cardiologist under Choice have to wait on a new cardiologist to be found in the community care program.

  4. KEVIN JOHN LAGRAFF October 10, 2019 at 11:09 am

    I live in Charlotte County, FL and I am interested in using Community Care as it is getting
    More difficult for me to travel to VA. Where do I get more information on how to enroll?
    Kevin LaGraff

  5. Anthony Wayne Dedrick October 9, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    I will not cut my comment.

  6. Anthony Wayne Dedrick October 9, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    Why do I have to modernization my comments.

  7. Anthony Wayne Dedrick October 9, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    I hate it when people who are not using this program say it’s great, no problems . How about travel reimbursement. I have 4 civilian doctors under the so called VA Community Care Program. I have had to use this program from its start. At first it took around 3 months to get a travel check. Then they rejected all claims because now they wanted more paperwork to justify claims. Took over a month to gather this info and refile claims. Guess what? They rejected all of these second time around claims. Now they wanted more paperwork from my doctors and for me to refile these claims (3rd time filing). Well travel section can go to hell before I waste anymore stamps. I’ll take that $400.00 lost, AND I DARE THE VA TO ASK ME IF I WANT TO USE THIS PROGRAM AGAIN WHICH IS MAKING DOCTORS A HELL OF A LOT OF MONEY FOR DOING WHAT?

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