Trump extends private-sector health care program for vets
President Donald Trump has signed a bill extending a program that lets some veterans seek medical care in the private sector.
The bill signed by President Trump Wednesday extends the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 past the original sunset date of August 2017.
Although the program is now limited to the Phoenix area, the collaboration is a test-run of sorts as VA Secretary David Shulkin mulls an overhaul proposal aimed at reducing veterans' wait times.
Trump signed a law extending the pilot "Veterans Choice" program, which allows some veterans to receive healthcare from local doctors and hospitals closer to their homes than the VA's 150 hospitals and almost 1,000 outpatient clinics.
The program, meant to clear the back log of VA patients waiting for care, was set to expire in August.
The Choice program was developed after a 2014 scandal over wait times at the VA medical center in Phoenix. He said Wednesday that the plan is due in the fall. "We will continue working with our colleagues in the Senate and the new administration to follow through on our commitment to those who have borne the price of battle for our nation", Moran said.
Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R- Florida, called for the president to take up reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs in the GOP's weekly video addr...
This piece of legislation will allow veterans to see "the doctor of their choice" and not have to travel long distances to get care.
Mark Lucas, executive director of Concerned Veterans for America, commended Trump for upholding a campaign promise to make veterans a priority, but said more needed to be done.
More than 1 million out of 9 million veterans in the VA system use some Choice care, with agency data pointing to even greater use this year. "I look forward to joining him today as he signs this important bill for our veterans", Scott said in a statement.