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GOV/MIL Trump signs bill allowing veterans to seek care outside broken VA system
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    America, The Beautiful

    2 Trump signs bill allowing veterans to seek care outside broken VA system

    Video at the link

    Trump signs bill allowing veterans to seek care outside broken VA system

    by Sarah Westwood
    Apr 19, 2017, 11:53 AM

    President Trump signed legislation Wednesday that will dramatically expand a program at the Department of Veterans Affairs that lets patients seek care from private doctors if they want to bypass the troubled VA system.

    The Veterans Choice Improvement Act removes barriers that Congress placed around the original "choice" initiative and eliminates an expiration date that would have shuttered the program in August.

    Lawmakers created the choice program in 2014 after a massive scandal involving wait time cover-ups at more than 100 VA facilities around the country. It was initially structured as a two-year pilot program that limited when and where veterans could choose to see private doctors. Patients could only use the choice program if they lived more than 40 miles from the nearest VA hospital or if they could not get an appointment from their local VA facility within 30 days.

    The choice program has proven controversial since its inception three years ago. Critics have questioned whether increasing veterans' reliance on private doctors might move the VA toward privatization, while proponents of such efforts have accused the VA of resisting steps to implement the program in order to protect the status quo.

    Some veterans advocates, such as Concerned Veterans for America, praised the administration's temporary push to extend choice but encouraged lawmakers to continue searching for solutions to the VA's ongoing struggles with long wait times.

    "Extending the Choice Program is the right thing to do, but only as a stopgap measure until better solutions are developed and implemented," said Dan Caldwell, policy director at CVA. "Reauthorizing the Choice Act buys Congress some time to work with Secretary [David] Shulkin on broader choice reforms that will truly empower veterans with the ability to seek care outside the VA when they want to."
    Qui tacet consentire videtur

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    The older vets are on Medicare already & can use Medicare doctors. I see the end of VA hospitals
    God Bless Us & God Bless America!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    I'd love to know when this goes into effect. Went last week to the local VA clinic and was told I would have to go the the VA hospital in West Palm Beach (80 miles away) to have a skin cancer removed from my arm. I reminded them that 2 years ago I had one removed from my leg at a local dermatologist thru the Veterans Choice program. They said that now all dermatology and eye care had to be done thru West Palm.
    I plan on calling Veterans Choice tomorrow and raising hell.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    2004 Soviet of Washington
    Keeping Promises!!


    Trump Signs Bill to Extend Veterans Choice Program | 19 Apr 2017 | by Richard Sisk

    President Donald Trump extended the Veterans Choice Act on Wednesday to set the stage for a push in Congress to expand the program and allow more access to private care for veterans.

    Flanked by veterans at an Oval Office ceremony, the president signed the bill to extend the Choice program, which was to expire on Aug. 7, and allow the expenditure of the remaining $950 million in the program.

    The Choice Card program allowed vets facing lengthy wait times at Veterans Administration facilities or living more than 40 miles from the nearest VA to seek care in the private sector. Those already in the program will not need to re-apply under the bill signed by Trump, VA officials said.

    The new bill -- the Veterans Choice Improvement Act -- addressed a major complaint of veterans service organizations by directing the VA to cover co-pays and deductibles directly for private care rather than reimbursing veterans for paying up front.

    Trump used the signing ceremony to renew many of the pledges he made on the campaign trail to reform the VA.

    "I've been telling all of our friends at speeches and rallies for two years about the VA, how we're going to turn it around, and we're doing that," the president said.

    "So this is called the Choice Program Improvement Act. It speaks for itself," he added. "This bill will extend and improve the Veterans Choice Program so that more veterans can see the doctor of their choice -- you got it? The doctor of their choice -- and you don't have to wait and travel long distances for VA care."

    VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin, the only holdover in the Obama administration in the Trump Cabinet and the only cabinet member to win unanimous confirmation in the Senate, said at the signing ceremony that the Choice extension was a precursor of "the great things that are to come to fulfill the president's commitments that he made to veterans."

    Shulkin has said that he will present to Congress this fall proposals to overhaul the Choice program to give veterans more options for private care and better integrate the VA with the private sector.
    “Then the creatures of the high air answered to the battle, .., and the woods trembled and the wind sobbed telling them, the earth shook,; the witches of the valley, and the wolves of the forests, howled from every quarter and on every side of the armies, urging them against one another.”
    ― Lady Gregory, Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and the Fianna of Ireland

  5. #5
    This is a wonderful thing as I am a nurse in the field. I meet veterans every day that are basically being held captive to the VA. For example, if they are hospitalized and the hospital physican gives an order for home health, the VA physician must give their 'permission'. I've been told many times that 'we are the VA and WE will determine if that veteran will get home health or not'. If gosh forbid (in dire circumstances) we try and circumvent and try and get an order from their surgeon (or specialist) the VA tells us that if we do that the Veterans medications will no longer be covered henceforth. The VA has their 'ways' to keep them in their 'system'. It's a mess and we should do better for our VETS.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    McCain was on a local radio station this morning and talking about this. There is also a pilot program just in the Phoenix area which has teamed the VA with CVS doc-in-a-box type clinics, 20 of them in the Phoenix area. Vets can go to them for minor first aid treatments just like the Urgent Care centers. Of course this doesn't help the veterans who live in Wickenberg or Yuma or anywhere in the White Mountains, but the Choice program will fill in that gap. At last, some relief for those to whom we owe so much. Another Trump promise, I might add.
    The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

    Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles, it takes away today's peace .

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    North Central Louisiana
    I'm not fond of this program. Last spring I had a bone scan at a third party facility. I went way out of my way to get a copy of my previous bone scan. It took months and months for me to get a copy of the report and the asshole radiologist who read the scan did not bother to look at the previous report, said there was nothing to compare to. I really wanted that comparison to find out if my situation was better or worse. And its really not the VA's fault, apparently they've never gotten a copy of the most recent report. I went round and round with the third party people to get his codes right for him to get the needed treatment. Its a good thing I was a medical coder or he would still have his problem. Again not the VA's fault, its the fault of the third party provider. The whole system is a cluster-uck.


  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
    McCain was on a local radio station this morning and talking about this.
    So, what did the old collaborator lie, I mean, talk, about?
    Proud member Alt-Right group "Scientists For Trump". (Smart Americans know he's right.)
    A man should only take a wife whose Bible includes Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Colossians, Malachi, Isaiah, Ephesians, Corinthians, Hebrews, Timothy, Titus, Proverbs, Mark, Peter & Revelation. Ecclesiastes 7:28 (NIV) tells him the odds.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Pahrump, NV
    I'm in the Southern Nevada area of the VA medical system. It is excellent, unlike the AZ area just South. I used Choice last year to get a pacemaker inplanted at a great civilian hospital with a great civilian doctor.

    If only the rest of the FUSA could be as good as my VA health care area.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Looking Up
    I travel 150 miles each way to my VA appointments. There are Hospitals closer but the VA does have the final say and all your records which they do not share with civilian hospitals. Lots of problems with this system. I go right past the Hospital at Fort Carson that is under used and could handle some Vet problems but the VA cannot communicate with that hospital via computer. They want the final say and control.
    "They wanted to be left alone to face challenges head-on, and to prosper from their own hard work and ingenuity...harsh country tends to produce strong people."-John Erickson

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by MinnesotaSmith View Post
    So, what did the old collaborator lie, I mean, talk, about?
    Fond memories of the healthcare in SE Asia?
    The word RACIST, and the ability to debate race-related issues rationally, are the kryptonite of white common sense.

    After the first one, the rest are free.

  12. #12
    A good start to replace a dying system.

    The VA lost sight of its mission years ago when it started using the Resource Allocation System (RAM) and when it started devoting 80% of its efforts toward getting a high rating from JCAHO (Joint Commission foir the Accreditation of Hospital Organizations).

    It was, at one time, a premier healthcare provider but, as a government agency, became totally infested with affirmative action employees at all levels and is now comprised of 172 little "fiefdoms" that talk a good line about providing patient care but are, instead, recruiting/employment centers for upward mobility minorities with a decreasing number of non minorities carrying the increasing workload.

    A few examples of "exceptional care" do not a good medical care institution make.

    The "plastic card" now issued to veterans should be valid at any medical care facility in the U.S. and the VA should simply "pick up the tab."

    That would cure several problems at one stroke and would cause the eventual closure of many of the non performing VA facilities and the exorbitant costs associated with keeping them in operation.

    The last statistics I saw indicated that over 70% of the yearly cost of running any VA Medical Center was attributable to salaries. (and that was many years ago)

    The sun should set on the VA as soon as possible.

    As I said earlier...

    The VA lost sight of its vision (mission) years ago.

  13. #13

    I agree that our vets should be able to get medical care most anywhere...

    But, I think you're forgetting a major reason the whole system for military veteran medical care was set up like it was. Back during the War of Northern Aggression, in the North, seriously wounded soldiers that survived would often end up being sent near home. There being negligible (compared with the scale needed) military medical infrastructure, that meant civilian doctors (and family) would be providing those soldiers' care. Those docs (and family members) having sympathy rather to infinitely more for the soldiers than for the priorities of the military (mostly related to returning to duty if at all possible, and as soon as reasonably practical) would commonly NEVER approve the solidier returning to duty. This was a serious reduction in military efficiency (remember, we're typically talking trained, experienced-in-combat veterans here). So, the U.S. military learned that letting such civilians provide all home medical care for seriously wounded soldiers (and assess their potential and readiness to return to duty) was NOT the ideal way to handle such soldiers, at least from the POV of the military.
    Proud member Alt-Right group "Scientists For Trump". (Smart Americans know he's right.)
    A man should only take a wife whose Bible includes Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Colossians, Malachi, Isaiah, Ephesians, Corinthians, Hebrews, Timothy, Titus, Proverbs, Mark, Peter & Revelation. Ecclesiastes 7:28 (NIV) tells him the odds.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Looking Up
    It is just a start and President Trump plainly stated that. It will take a major review to fix the VA system but you have to start somewhere and you have to have someone serious about fixing the problems. We did not have that with the previous POTUS. The VA was used to line the right pockets and not help the vets. A change for the better is in the air.

    I suggest that if you have not already sign up for the daily White House News letter to do so immediately. You can sure skip a lot of fake news time by just listening to what the President is doing and his daily schedule. You can also send a email to him about a situation like in the VA that needs addressing. They do get read and I think it helps form his policy.

    Nomifyle it is always best to immediately ask for a record of any procedure done by the VA. You can request right after the procedure and if put on a disk it is usually $5 fee. Well worth it since the civilian world and the VA world do not communicate. There in lies the problem with using more civilian resources. Same goes for any procedure done at a civilian hospital.
    "They wanted to be left alone to face challenges head-on, and to prosper from their own hard work and ingenuity...harsh country tends to produce strong people."-John Erickson

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    State of Jefferson - On the Darkside where the cookies are...
    Give eligible vets their Medical Care Card to be used ANYWHERE and save a YUGE chunk of change by closing down and selling off all the VA hospitals and clinics. It's ridiculous to have to travel sometimes hundreds of miles to receive medical care. When I lived along the coast in Northern California the nearest VA Hospital was in San Francisco.....a SIX HOUR drive way?!?! There were TWO COMMUNITY HOSPITALS just five to ten minutes away. So yeah, driving six hours (one way) was sure cost effective.
    We have done so much, with so little, for so long....We can now do anything, with nothing, forever.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Amongst the Gentle People
    2 months ago I started a PTSD treatment modality that has been around for awhile, but the VA does not use universally. It is called CES, which stimulates alpha waves in the brain to aid with anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, etc. Guess what, it works. AND I have paid for it myself. Yes, the VA wants the controlling say. I have reduced my meds by 1/2 to 2/3 of what I used to take. The little Alpha-Stim devices are expensive (around $800). I am 100% service connected. Fortunately I also have Medicare. There are some things I won't go to the VA for. Routine care is close-by for me. Others are not so lucky. However, even at the Outpatient Clinic has institutional stupidity, such as the sign on the door that says "If you are infectious, don't come in here." Mind you, does not say what you are to do, just don't frickkin come in the door. Another head banger.
    Go to Church. Pray.
    "Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice" ....Psalm 68


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