Using the Veterans Choice Program
On August 7, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (Choice Act), calling for VA to implement the Veterans Choice Program. The Veterans Choice Program is one of the ways VA is improving access to care for Veterans. It allows eligible Veterans to receive care from non-VA facilities, connecting them to timely and convenient access to health care, instead of waiting for a VA appointment or traveling long distances to a VA facility. Veterans who live more than 40 miles away from a VA medical facility or have an excessive travel burden are eligible.
VA’s goal will always be to provide Veterans with timely, high-quality care. Even if you choose to receive care from a non-VA facility, you can still take advantage of the many VA resources available to you.
Veterans may have been exposed to a range of environmental and chemical hazards during military service including sand, dust, and particulates; burn pits; infectious diseases; and other hazards. VA offers several programs and resources related to military exposure concerns for non-VA providers and Veterans that are not receiving care through VA’s health care system. The following are a few examples of resources that you can share with your non-VA health care provider.
Exposure Ed mobile app
If you have concerns related to military exposures that you would like to discuss with your non-VA provider, you can refer them to Exposure Ed, a new mobile app launched by VA to help health care providers better address Veterans’ questions about the health effects of military exposures and exposure-related benefits and services. The app is available for free download from the Apple iTunes store, and will be available for Android devices later in 2015. To learn more about the app, visit mobile.va.gov/app/exposure-ed.
Environmental Medicine Clinical Consult Service
The U.S. Army Public Health Command offers provider-to-provider service for military, VA, and civilian healthcare providers through its Environmental Medicine Clinical Consult Service. The program helps providers address health concerns related to military exposures. More information on the program is available at http://phc.amedd.army.mil/organization/hq/doem/Pages/EnvMed.aspx.
Environmental exposures pocket card
VA has developed a pocket card that can serve as a quick guide for providers caring for patients with environmental exposure concerns. The pocket card includes tips on how to discuss exposure concerns with Veterans, how to create a care plan, and where to go for more information. The pocket card can be printed and shared with providers at your next appointment. For a copy, visit www.publichealth.va.gov/docs/exposures/environmental-exposure-pocket-card.pdf.
To learn more about military exposures, visit www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures. For more information on the Veterans Choice Program, and to find out if you are eligible, you can visit www.va.gov/opa/choiceact or call 866-606-8198. Using the Veterans Choice Program does not impact your existing VA health care or any other VA benefit.