Burr: Veterans Choice Program Improvements Are a Welcome Addition

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that makes improvements to the Veterans Choice program.  Along with Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) authored the Veterans Choice programsigned into law last year, in his role as then Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Senator Burr made the following statement on today’s vote:

“As one of the authors of the Veterans Choice Act, I’m encouraged by some of the improvements that this bill makes to this popular program. This bill will make more veterans eligible for the Choice program and gives more flexibility to the 40-mile rule. These are welcome changes for veterans who want to get health care closer to home from a doctor of their choice.” 

This amendment makes much needed changes to the Veterans Choice Program:

o   Gives more veterans eligibility to enroll in the Choice Program.

     §  Previously only those veterans enrolled by August 1, 2014, were eligible.

o   Expands the number of non-VA providers who are allowed to participate in the program, including dentists and obstetricians.

o   Allows veterans who live within 40 miles of a VA facility that do not have a full-time primary care physician to access the Choice Program.

The Veterans Choice Act was written to accomplish three goals: Provide veterans' flexibility and choice in medical providers; Increase transparency in VA operations; and Tighten accountability on VA operations. Read the text of the Veterans Choice Act here.