VA To Soften Rules That Make It Hard For Some Rural Vets To Get Care
The so-called "40-mile" rule often makes it difficult for those living outside large cities to prove they live far enough away from a VA health center to get private medical care instead. The VA will now rely on driving distance to determine the distance, not a straight line.
The Associated Press:
VA Says It Will Relax 40-mile Rule For Private Medical Care
Responding to pressure from Congress and veterans groups, the Department of Veterans Affairs is relaxing a rule that makes it hard for some veterans in rural areas to prove they live at least 40 miles from a VA health site. The change comes amid complaints from lawmakers and advocates who say the VA's current policy has prevented thousands of veterans from taking advantage of a new law intended to allow veterans in remote areas to gain access to federally paid medical care from local doctors. (Daly, 3/24)
The Military Times:
VA Choice Program's Distance Rule To Be Revised
After much debate over how the Veterans Affairs Department chose to define the 40-mile distance rule for veterans to access the new Veterans Choice health program, VA will announce today that it's changing the definition. Rather than use an "as the crow flies" measure of 40 miles, VA will rely on driving distance from a VA medical facility as the qualifier to use Veterans Choice, a program that lets veterans see a civilian health care provider if they live in a remote area or can't get an appointment at a VA facility. Under the VA Access, Choice and Accountability Act passed by Congress last year, veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility were supposed to have access to the Choice Card program. (Kime, 3/24)