A little over a year ago, on August 7, 2014, the “Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014,” P.L. 113-146, was signed into law. The so-called “Choice Act” was intended to improve Veterans’ access to medical services from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
An important part of the Choice Act was allowing Veterans to use private physicians if they were unable to schedule an appointment at a VA medical facility within specified wait-time limits, or lived more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility, or met other eligibility criteria for using a non-VA physician.
More than a year from enactment, has the Choice Act helped Veterans? No, not really. Why? Because VA’s rules still create obstacles to letting Veterans use non-VA medical services. Continue reading