VA Secretary says Tester’s Veterans Choice bill will help fix issues at the VA

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester today secured an endorsement from Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Secretary Bob McDonald for Tester’s bill to address ongoing problems with the VA Choice Program.

McDonald threw his support behind Tester’s bill during a VA Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. Tester’s Improving Veterans Access to Care in the Community Act will provide the VA with the flexibility it needs to improve care by streamlining and consolidating community care programs, and eliminating many of the bureaucratic hurdles that prevent veterans from accessing care.

“If we don’t get this bill across the finish line, barriers will continue to keep veterans from accessing timely care,” said Tester, Ranking member on the Subcommittee. “Every day veterans are reaching out to my office because the Choice Program is not working, and my bill will make necessary changes to Choice so the men and women who have served are able to access the care they deserve.”

McDonald added that Tester’s bill will resolve the issues health care providers are having with HealthNet, the third party administrator that is scheduling appointments and handling billing for the Choice Program.

Tester’s Improving Veterans Access to Care in the Community Act:
• Gives VA the spending flexibility it needs in places like Montana to quickly provide veterans non-VA care when necessary.
• Simplifies the rules so that private health care providers are better able to serve veterans when the VA cannot.
• Consolidates the VA’s multiple community care programs into a single, efficient program with straightforward eligibility criteria and a single set of clinical and administrative systems.
• Expands access to emergency treatment and urgent community care for veterans.

Tester’s bill is scheduled to receive a hearing in the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee next Tuesday.

Tester’s Improving Veterans Access to Care in the Community Act is available online HERE.