ABOUT THE CHOICE PROGRAM
If you are already enrolled in VA health care, the Choice Program allows you to receive health care within your community. Using this program does NOT impact your existing VA health care, or any other VA benefit.
On April 19, 2017, President Trump signed a law that removes the August, 7, 2017, expiration date and allows VA to utilize funding dedicated to the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) until it is exhausted. The VCP is a critical program that increases access to care for Veterans by authorizing millions of appointments for Veterans in the community.
Veterans Choice Program News
President Signs S. 544 into Law
(Washington Times) — On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, the President signed S. 544, which eliminates the termination date of the Veterans Choice Program into law...read more
Posted April 19, 2017
Some vets can go to CVS 'MinuteClinics' for minor illnesses
(AP) — Some ailing veterans can now use their federal health care benefits at CVS "MinuteClinics" to treat minor illnesses and injuries, under a pilot program announced Tuesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs...read more
Posted April 19, 2017
Dr. Shulkin is appointed Secretary of Veterans Affairs
(VA) — On Tuesday, Feb. 14, Dr. David J. Shulkin was sworn in as the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs...read more
Posted April 19, 2017
Veterans Choice Program Interactive Timeline
VCP interactive timeline features the story of VCP from its inception to ongoing developments.
This timeline will be updated frequently.
April 7, 2014
The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 Signed Into Law
In August 2014, President Obama signed into law the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act (VACAA). Included in that legislation was the Veterans Choice Program or the VCP. The Veterans Choice Program expands the availability of medical services for eligible Veterans with community providers.
September 26, 2014
The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2014 Was Signed Into Law
This Act was signed into law on September 26, 014 and made several technical amendments to the Veterans, Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 to improve the Veterans Choice Program.
April 24, 2015
Department of Veterans Affairs Updated Distance Rules
The Department of Veterans Affairs issued interim final rules modifying how VA measures the distance from a Veteran’s residence to the nearest VA medical facility. This modification considered the distance the Veteran must drive to the nearest VA medical facility from the Veteran’s residence, rather than the straight-line or geodesic distance to VA facility.
May 12, 2015
Department of Veterans Affairs Issued Memorandum to Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) Directors
The memorandum outlined that effective June 8, 2015, a specific hierarchy of care must be used when the Veteran’s primary VA medical facility cannot readily provide needed care to a Veteran, either because the care is unavailable at the facility or because the facility cannot meet VHA’s wait time criteria.
May 22, 2015
The Construction Authorization and Choice Improvement Act Was Signed Into Law
The law amended the 40 miles eligibility criteria for the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) to clarify that the 40 miles is calculated based on distance traveled (driving distance) rather than the previous straight-line or geodesic distance standard, and authorized VA to determine if there is an unusual or excessive burden in traveling to a VA medical facility.
June 31, 2015
The Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act is Signed Into Law
Among other things, the Act allowed all enrolled Veterans to be eligible for the Veterans Choice Program (amended the August 1, 2014 enrollment date restriction), defined the nearest VA medical facility as a Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) with no full-time primary care physician, removed the 60-day limitation on an episode of care, included clinically indicated date as a wait time eligibility criteria, and expanded provider eligibility.
October 1, 2015
Memorandum to Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) Directors about ReferralsThe Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a memorandum to VISN Directors that allowed VA medical facilities to refer the Veteran to VCP for care not available at the Veterans’ primary VA medical facility and a referral plan does not exist to another VA medical facility or other federal facility.
December 1, 2015
The Department of Veterans Affairs Revised Previous Regulations
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published final rules revising previous VA regulations implementing the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) based on amendments made by The Construction Authorization and Choice Improvement Act was signed into and the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Launched Community Care Call Center
VA set up a call center specifically for Community Care to assist Veterans with credit and billing issues to reduce any stress for Veterans and community providers.
1 million Authorizations for Choice care.
Veterans received over 1,000,000 authorizations for Choice care.
2 Million Authorizations for Choice Care
In FY 2016, Veterans received over 2 million authorizations for Choice care. VA had quadrupled the number of authorizations from 2015 to 2016.
Nearly 19 Million Claims Processed
In FY 2016, VA processed 18.9 million claims for all community care programs. This was a 13% increase since FY 15.
February 14, 2017
Dr. David J. Shulkin Sworn in as VA Secretary
Prior to his confirmation as VA Secretary, Dr. Shulkin served as VA’s Under Secretary for Health for 18 months, leading the nation’s largest integrated health care system.
March 7, 2017
Congressional Hearing of Shaping the Future of VA Community Care
The House Committee on Veterans Affairs held a hearing titled ‘Shaping the Future: Consolidating and Improving VA Community Care’ to discuss the future of VA Community Care. VA Secretary Dr. Shulkin and the Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Community Care, Dr. Baligh Yehia, testified in front of the committee to discuss the community care program and to work with Congress to improve care for Veterans.
April 18, 2017
Congress Passed the Bill to Extend Choice Program
By signing of Public Law 115-26, the sunset date of the Choice Act was eliminated. This ensures Veterans have certainty and continuity of care through this program.