Washington, DC – This morning, Congressman Pearce met with Department of Veterans Affairs Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie to discuss the Veterans Choice Program and its benefits for veterans who live in rural and underserved communities. Later today, the House will vote on the VA MISSION Act, which will end the Veterans Choice Program entirely. The meeting centered around Congressman Pearce's concern with ending the Veterans Choice Program and the impact that would have on access to care.
"As a veteran from a rural community, I know firsthand the challenges veterans in rural and underserved communities face accessing the quality healthcare they need and deserve," said Pearce. "While not perfect, the Veterans Choice Program has created a sense of certainty and clarity for these veterans. The changes made within the VA MISSION Act not only end the Veterans Choice Program, but sets in motion an entirely new process to provide all veterans with care. From the start, I have been uncertain that a new process is what our veterans need to safeguard their access to care, however, I believe it is essential to engage in any discussion that will impact veterans."

The meeting took place in Congressman Pearce's Washington, D.C. office. In addition to Acting Secretary Wilkie, Rep. Pearce was joined by three other Members of Congress, two of whom are combat veterans, who also have concerns with the VA MISSION Act.
"This morning's meeting with Acting Secretary Wilkie was a very productive one," continued Pearce. "I appreciate the Acting Secretary's willingness to discuss my very real concerns with the VA MISSION Act. During our hour-long meeting, I not only heard about the near and long-term goals this bill sets to achieve, but was given assurances that my office will be involved in every aspect of the reforms taking place. Though questions remain about the Department's ability to fully implement the significant reforms in this bill, I left the meeting with a greater understanding on how the Administration wants to change the culture and failures within the VA.
"Ultimately, my vote this afternoon will come down to one thing: will this bill increase access to care within the VA to ensure rural and underserved veterans receive the services they were promised."
Today, the House of Representatives will debate and vote on S. 2372, the VA MISSION Act of 2018. This legislation undertakes a massive reform of the VA. Primarily, the bill will consolidate all community care programs into one overarching care program. It will establish an Asset and Infrastructure Review process to oversee the modernization of the VA's facilities. Finally, VA MISSION Act will end the Veterans Choice Program at the end of 2019, among other reforms.
The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act (Veteran Choice Program or Choice) of 2014, was enacted on August 7, 2014 only after it was uncovered that many veterans died while waiting for access to care. The Veterans Choice Program was implemented in response to the uncovering of a secret waitlists and veterans unable to access medical care at VA facilities. Choice was ultimately enacted to improve the access of eligible veterans to health care through non-Department institutions and providers.
The two main eligibility criteria for Choice are (1) living outside of a 40-mile driving distance from a VA Medical Facility or (2) having to wait longer than 30 days for an appointment. The authority to develop eligibility criteria for veterans to use non-VA entities and providers shifts to the VA's control under the VA MISSION Act. This bill ultimately "sunsets," or eliminates, the Veteran Choice Program 1 year from the date of its enactment.

Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates

Welcome to Three Times Weekly Updates! You will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.
You can unsubscribe anytime. We never share or rent your email to anyone.

Fire Alerts

Editor's Note

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at http://www.grantcountybeat.com/about/submissions They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as the editor.

Welcome to our new version of classified ads.  We invite you our readers to post your own classifieds, which are available for viewing 24/7 and are very reasonable in price. Right now you'll see a classified for mobile home lots for rent.

We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. It's a software problem, not easily fixable, other than showing fewer articles per summary page. If you are a frequent visitor, you might not mind fewer articles per page, but if you only come once in a while, you likely want to see more articles to browse. Write me at editor@grantcountybeat.com to let me know your feelings on this issue. 

Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised. 

The Beat continues to bring you new columnists.Recent additions  include one about end of life options, Compassionate Care.

The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  


All articles and photos indicated by a byline are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ad on the Beat.

Feel free to notify editor@grantcountybeat.com, if you notice any problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.

If you subscribe to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option on the left side of this page, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

It's really easy to check to see if there's a classified ad. Just click on Classifieds in the blue menu and the page will open letting you know if there is a classified ad. Remember that your buying classified ads gives you a wide readership, as well as supporting the Beat. Post YOURS for quick results!

Note that if an article does not have a byline, it was sent to the Beat and written by someone not affiliated with the Beat

Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News.

Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—www.grantcountybeat.com