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Tillis Statement on Proposed Eligibility Criteria for Veterans’ Community Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reaching a major milestone in the implementation of the VA MISSION Act, landmark legislation passed last year that strengthens health care services at the VA.

“The publication of the new access standards required by the VA MISSION Act, which greatly improve upon the arbitrary parameters set forth by the VA Choice Act, will apply veteran-centric eligibility criteria based on a veteran’s needs and circumstance,” said Senator Tillis. “Empowering veterans to make decisions about their own health care is not only the right thing to do, it is a critical step in allowing the VA to continue to modernize and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse veteran community. I commend Secretary Wilkie and the VA for this important step, and I look forward to working with him as we continue to make care better and more accessible for all veterans.”

In the new law, the VA’s existing community care programs were streamlined into one Veterans Community Care Program to help ensure veterans receive efficient, timely and quality care, whether inside the VA system or from providers in their communities. The law instructs the Secretary of the VA to establish standards for veterans seeking care within the VA. If the VA is unable to meet certain designated access standards, veterans will be given the option to receive care in the community. Today, the VA announced the proposed new access standards to determine a veteran’s eligibility for community care that will take effect in June. The announcement is on track with a March deadline for the VA to provide a report to Congress detailing these access standards.

Tillis was a strong advocate for the VA MISSION Act, bipartisan legislation that included two provisions authored by Senator Tillis that allows the VA to use a third-party entity to electronically process health care claims from medical providers and authorizes the VA to implement pilot programs for new and innovative payment and delivery models for VA health care that will allow the Department to modernize and adapt to the ever-changing needs of the veteran population.

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