Are you a veteran that used Choice, or do you know one? Are you aware that in October of this year the VA unveiled CARE (Coordinated Access & Rewarding Experiences) as the replacement plan for Choice? Many veterans groups had input on the new program. Choice came about in 2014 due to the wait-time crisis that was occurring in VA facilities across the country (The American Legion Magazine, December 2017). It allowed for access to private sector care for veterans that faced a wait of more than 30 days for care or who lived more than 40 miles from a VA care facility.
CARE will drop the 30 day/40 mile requirement and allow VA providers to discuss options with patients and decide if non-VA care is the best option for the veteran. This is exciting news for our community. Our local VA providers will have a greater ability to refer to private sector providers. As a veteran patient, you will now be able to discuss your desire to be seen in the community with your VA provider and you will not be constrained by the 30 day/ 40 mile requirement.
The VA is making strides in modernizing the care veterans receive. One of the ways they are doing this is by including non-VA providers in veterans’ care. As a veteran myself, and having done my last rotation as an extern at the VAMC in Dallas, TX, I applaud their progress from both the patient and provider perspective.I hope these tidbits have been enlightening. Yours in health, Doc