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Familiarize Yourself With Latest VA Changes

August 31, 2018

USVCP Staff Writers


Many veterans are unaware of recent VA changes to policies, programs and procedures that have a major effect on their benefits.  For instance, to expand eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program, VA will determine eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program based on the distance between a veteran’s place of residence and the nearest VA medical facility using driving distance rather than straight-line distance.  This change has been published in the Federal Register for reference if needed.  The change from straight-line to driving distance roughly doubles the number of eligible veterans eligible for the program. VA sent letters to the newly eligible veterans to let them know they are now eligible for the Veterans Choice Program under this new expansion policy.  If a veteran does not remember receiving a Veterans Choice Card or has other questions about the Choice Program, they can call 866-606-8198.













Additionally, VA changed the mileage calculation for beneficiary travel. The change will ensure consistency in VA’s mileage calculations across the two programs.


For clarification of VA changes, veterans are advised to contact their Veterans Service Officer (VSO) or local VAMC.

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Gary Dodds, 4/1/20

The only thing that Choice has done for me is cost me money.


Donald Bellville, 3/16/20
In reference to mileage.....this is all smoke n mirrors. I had a scheduled dental appointment in G-ville, Fla....made the scheduled appointment and put in for travel expense. After I got the payment I was paid for half the distance I had traveled. When I asked about it, I was told that the VA travel folks paid me from the nearest facility that offered the same care I had received. Ok...I WAS NOT AWARE OF THIS!!! So, I contacted the facility that was closer to me and was told there was over a one year wait for the procedure I got. FYI folks......ask and check before you travel any distance and are expecting to get full reimbursement.












Gerard Pigeon, 3/16/20
I get cheated all the time because they use a strait line. Going to st Pete va it's 136 miles from my house a tolled of 272miles X .50 = $136.


Dan Wooten, 3/16/20
It would be nice if the Veteran had someone to respond to all the complaints.....if the complaint included needed information for the complainant to get help. Thanks to the VA for addressing my needs.


Harold Houfek, 11/18/19
VOS is a farce and worthless. I called them three years ago and told them to stop making me appointments. example. I have shoulder issues from being a Navy diver for 20 years, lots of pain.
Made an appointment for me 200 miles away with a Plastic Surgeon. Of course I checked out the Doc before I even left the house. Another time with a PA in a strip mall. WTF. Another time with a Doc who specialized in Sleep Disorders.












Harold Gross, 11/18/19
My Dentist @ bay Pines informed me that the Choice Program no longer is being used for dental Services and this will be replaced by Mission. Have been waiting for almost a year now. I am 100% Service connected.


Gene Stewart, 11/18/19
I have never seen so many Veterans complain before! You were in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines, Suck it up and act like one. I go to the Iowa City Iowa VA and am proud of their service. Yes sometimes I have a complaint, but 97% of the time I am very satisfied with their service and Medical Care. One person said they would be homeless and broke if it wasn't for the VA., well, think about it if you had to pay all of your medical bills. Ouch, that would hurt! Say thank you once in a while and it will go a long way with the people that serve you. They only work there! USMC Vietnam Vet.


James Wilkes, 4/22/19
I recently saw pcp (lousy) I was basically told A&A claims was not to be submitted unless very ill, paralyzed, etc. VA going down the tubes despite money poured in the system.


Donald Beville, 4/22/19
I have NOT received a card or letter in reference to The Choice Program. I read about it, talked to my PC about it, used it for physical therapy on back issues, HAD to use THEIR PROVIDERS....personally, I do NOT trust the VA or this program.


Gerald Oliver, 11/12/18

I got a lot of double bills from Meriter hospital for sugery for cancer on choice.


Gerald A. Pigeon, 11/12/18

I never recieved a card the only thing they sent me a letter that i was on the program.


Andi Hillis, 11/12/18

The VA killed my husband and they need to held accountable.













Kevan Flanagan, 11/12/18

I have an original "temporary" Choice Card.. Previously it took longer to get all approvals from choice because of the extra layers.. A DVT took me 90 days.. Because it was expensive and I am a " high risk patient "..Now a different entity pays and that part is smoother. I recently had eye glasses through Choice and they never asked for the card.. Everything still goes through fee based or outside care.. Which was always already available as long as budget allowed.. In my case and in my opinion they leave me at a high risk.. beyond need.. Because any procedures with risk are extremely costly.. To the point that of what outside care would not do. ... BTW the "Date of Issuance" on my Choice Card is January 2015 ... Originally it did have a straight line rule...And please pardon .. But this POTUS DID NOT CREATE CHOICE...but did expand it .. And years ago fee based also commented to Me that eventually everything will go under Choice..

If I didn't have VA healthcare.. I would be bankrupt homeless.. I am not disparaging VA Healthcare.. It is broken.. It was not always that way. I firmly believe we should keep Veterans health a priority and an exceptional stand alone Health Service. It has been a ground breaking contributor to civilian healthcare.. Nothing and No One gets it done better than our Military..We all know that.


Richard Rivers, 9/17/18

The Choice Program was initiated not because of the distance a veteran had to a VA Medical Facility! It was started to eliminate the time period the Veteran had to wait to see a Doctor. Veterans were dying waiting to get an appointment for an Examination and/or Treatment. The VA could not handle the amount of Veterans who were in need. To see a Doctor one would wait sometimes up to a year. I don't know when this changed into a distance matter to qualify!










Marshall Maeder, 9/8/18

I did not get the letter but i did have a problem with the choice program . I called them about a problem they said i had to go the the VA BEFORE THEY COULD TALK TO ME . . NOW I DON'T CALL THEM BECAUSE YOU CAN'T GET a answer from them.


Gerald Smith, 9/1/18

I did not get the letter but I do go to the eye specialist on the choice program.  Does that mean that I am eligible for other drs?   Is there going to be an ins. card that would allow the veteran to go to the private dr. without having to get prior approval?


Harold Gross, 8/31/18

Does the Veteran have anything to say about these changes? Or just " SCREW THE VETERAN, like it or lump it!"