MISSION Act launch: About 40 percent of veterans now eligible for private care

Abbie Bennett
June 06, 2019 - 9:56 am

Photo courtesy of House Republicans

The Department of Veterans Affairs today launched the MISSION Act, a massive expansion of veteran access to private doctors and urgent care clinics.

As the CHOICE program sunsets, the MISSION Act takes its place. Under CHOICE, about 8 percent of the more than 9 million veterans in the U.S. were eligible for private care. Under MISSION, that number is closer to 40 percent, VA officials said.

With a major expansion on the line, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said veterans can expect “less red tape, more satisfaction and predictability for patients, more efficiency for our clinicians and better value for taxpayers. And Wilkie said he expected just “a few hiccups … I’m confident our team across the country is ready.”

And though millions more veterans now have private care as an option, VA leadership remain confident that most will continue to prefer VA care and they won’t see a flood of veterans leaving VA for the private sector.

“Patients’ trust in VA care has skyrocketed to 87.7 percent, and in the last fiscal year, VA completed more than 58 million internal appointments – a record high and 623,000 more than the year before,” Wilkie said. “With the MISSION Act, the future of the VA healthcare system will lie in the hands of veterans – precisely where it should be.”

As of last month, nearly 550,000 private health care providers were partnering with the VA through its community care network, along with more than 8,000 urgent care clinics, according to VA officials, and that number has continued to grow.

While some lawmakers and veteran service organizations expressed concern about the rollout, with some calling it premature and asking that it be delayed to avoid any potential interruption of care, VA officials remained stalwart that they would make the June 6 launch.

House Veterans Affairs Committee ranking member Dr. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., on Thursday said the MISSION Act’s implementation was a win, but not the end of the road for improving care for veterans.

“While the rollout of this program is a significant win for veterans, it is certainly not the end of our work on their behalf and I look forward to continuing to ensure that they have access to the very best care, benefits, and services,” Roe said.

If you have issues with the MISSION Act launch, call your nearest VA facility or VA311 (1-844-698-2311). 

For more information on the MISSION Act, go to www.missionact.va.gov or read these guides:

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