VA MISSION Act
On June 6, 2018, President Trump signed the John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka, and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018 (the MISSION Act). Certain provisions of the Act were further amended by the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2018.
This legislation will strengthen VA’s ability to deliver health care by:
- Consolidating VA community care programs into a single program that is much easier to navigate.
- Expanding eligibility for Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.
- Strengthening VA’s ability to recruit and retain the best medical providers.
- Strengthening VA’s infrastructure.
Even before the MISSION Act was passed, VA made major strides in expanding access to care. Since 2014, the number of annual appointments for VA care is up by 3.4 million, with over 58 million appointments in VA facilities last fiscal year. Veterans can now receive same day services for primary care and mental health, and directly schedule appointments in mental health, audiology, optometry, podiatry, nutrition, wheelchair and amputation care clinics without a referral.
Patients’ trust in VA care has skyrocketed – currently at 87.7 percent – and VA wait times are shorter than those in the private sector in primary care and two of three specialty care areas. VA is seeing more patients than ever before, more quickly than ever before, and Veterans are more satisfied with their care than they have been previously.
With the MISSION Act, the future of the VA health care system is in the hands of Veterans – exactly where it should be.
Consolidating Community Care
VA has been providing care to Veterans through community providers for decades, but the programs have grown in number and complexity over the years, making them complicated to access and administer. The MISSION Act will consolidate VA’s community care programs, making community care work better for Veterans and their families, community providers, and VA staff.
As part of this process, VA is establishing standards for access and quality that will apply to VA facilities and community providers. The proposed access standards were announced January 30. They are based on analysis of best practices in government and the private sector and tailored to the needs of Veterans.
Expanding Caregivers Eligibility
The MISSION Act will expand eligibility for VA’’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) under the Caregiver Support Program. The PCAFC is currently available to eligible Veterans who incurred or aggravated a serious injury in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001. The expansion implemented by the MISSION Act will open the Program to eligible Veterans and their caregivers from all eras.
VA is working to establish required systems and regulations to improve PCAFC and implement changes required by the MISSION Act. Caregivers and Veterans can learn about the full range of available support and programs available by visiting the Caregivers Support Program website or by contacting the Caregiver Support Line toll-free at 1-855-260-3274.
Strengthening VA’s Workforce
The MISSION Act gives VA greater ability to recruit and retain the best medical providers through greater access to an education debt reduction program and improved flexibility for bonuses for recruitment, relocation and retention. VA will also pilot a scholarship program for eligible Veterans to receive medical training in return for serving in a VA hospital or clinic for four years.
Strengthening VA’s Infrastructure
On average, VA buildings are nearly 60 years old, with only half built since 1920. The MISSION Act will strengthen the Department’s ability to manage its real property portfolio and build a high-performing, integrated health care system.
Note: You may need to visit the VA Viewer Software page to view the documents available on this page.