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VHA Office of Community Care

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VA Community Care (VA CC)

A New Hierarchy of Care and the Veterans Choice Program (VCP)

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is working to consolidate various VA care in the community programs to systematically improve the operating structure for all of VA Community Care. This site is designed to provide updates on important changes instituted to support the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014; the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015; a new Community Care Hierarchy of Care, instituted May 12, 2015; and the VA Plan to Consolidate Care in the Community Programs, delivered to Congress Oct. 30, 2015.

The VCP is managed under contract, currently to Health Net Federal Services and TriWest Healthcare Alliance. At this time, no new agreements or renewals of existing local contracts and local sharing agreements will be implemented for the purchase of services covered by VCP or national contracts. Affiliation agreements or contracts for direct care services provided on-site at a VA facility are allowed, as are sharing agreements where VA clinicians are providing care in community care facilities. For a map of contractor coverage by region, please visit our Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) pages.

Under the current VA hierarchy structure, the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) is the primary mechanism used when Veterans are waiting for care or need care that VA or other federal agencies cannot provide. If services are not available under VCP, or a Veteran is not eligible for or declines such care, VA staff may utilize other Community Care options (in most cases) pending availability of funds. In the case of 30-day wait-eligible Veterans, a Veteran must wait for his or her VA appointment if they elect not to use the Choice program.

After Choice Program options are exhausted, VA will follow the hierarchy as outlined below to ensure Veterans receive timely access to care.

VACC hierarchy of care

Consolidating VA CC and the New VCP

For information on enhancements being made under the new legislation and how to become a Choice provider, visit:

  • Veterans Choice Program Outreach Partners Toolkit
  • Plan to Consolidate Community Care Programs
    The plan outlines VA’s approach to adapt and evolve to meet the health care needs of Veterans in the community. It is VA’s response to the bill passed in July 2015 after VA sought the opportunity to consolidate its multiple care in the community authorities and programs. The plan seeks to consolidate and streamline existing Community Care programs into an integrated care delivery system and enhance the way VA partners with other federal health care providers, academic affiliates and community providers. It simplifies Community Care and gives more Veterans access to the best care anywhere through a high performing network that keeps Veterans at the center of care.