Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy released the following statement on the implementation of the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (VA MISSION) Act:

“Seventy-five years ago today, our brave WWII veterans stormed the beaches of Normandy and changed the course of history forever. As we celebrate their victory and reflect on the selfless sacrifices they made on D-Day, we also pledge to ensure the United States has a VA health care system in place that works for them,” said Congressman Kevin McCarthy. “Today, Secretary Wilkie announced the formal launch of the Community Care Program (CCP) and urgent care access, required by the VA MISSION Act, for veterans enrolled in VA benefits. Under the VA MISSION Act – signed into law by President Trump one year ago today – veterans receiving VA benefits will have expanded access to care and greater control over their healthcare benefits so that they and their families can decide what works best for them. I look forward to working with Secretary Wilkie and the VA to ensure a smooth implementation of the MISSION Act.”

Background: President Trump signed the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (VA MISSION) Act into law on June 6, 2018. The VA MISSION Act requires the VA to develop a Community Care Program (CCP), as well as urgent care access, for veterans enrolled in VA benefits. The CCP allows enrolled veterans to visit VA-contracted private healthcare providers if qualified through new access standards for drive and appointment wait times. Under these standards, veterans will be able to visit non-VA providers if they must:

  • Drive over 30 minutes to the nearest VA facility for primary, mental health, or non-institutional extended care services;
  • Drive over 60 minutes to the nearest VA facility for specialty care;
  • Wait 20 days or longer for primary, mental health, or non-institutional extended care services, from the date of the request for appointment; OR
  • Wait 28 days or longer for specialty care, from the date of the request for appointment.

Today, the VA adopts final rules on the CCP and urgent care access and begins to implement the VA MISSION Act. The final rule on the Community Care Program can be found here and the final rule on urgent care access for veterans can be found here.

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