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Wed Aug 2, 2017, 04:23 AM

Senate advances VA Choice fix, claims appeals reform package

http://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2017/08/02/senate-advances-va-choice-fix-claims-appeals-reform-package/

Senate advances VA Choice fix, claims appeals reform package

By: Leo Shane III    6 hours ago


WASHINGTON — Senate lawmakers quietly advanced two major Veterans Affairs reform bills on Tuesday night, sending a funding fix for the Choice program to the White House and queuing up a benefits claim appeals reform package to become law later this year. Both measures were passed by voice vote in the waning hours of the Senate’s session, as lawmakers look to leave town for an extended legislative recess. Administration officials have signaled that President Donald Trump will sign both into law.
(snip)

Congress has been facing a mid-August deadline to pass the Choice funding fix, after VA officials warned earlier this summer the health care program would run out of money before the end of the summer. The Choice program has proven controversial in recent years, with arguments over how to administer and fund initiatives that allow some veterans to seek private medical care at taxpayers expense.

The compromise package, passed unanimously by the House just hours before they recessed last week, provides $3.9 billion in emergency spending to keep the Choice program operating for six months while also funding 28 new medical leases and hundreds of new health care specialist hires within VA.
(snip)

The appeals reform legislation will head back to the House first, after Senate officials made minor changes to the legislation. House lawmakers had advanced the measure, and have been awaiting resolution on the issue for months while health care fights have dominated business in the upper chamber.

VA officials have asked for major changes to the benefits appeals process for more than a year, but have only seen legislative progress in the last few months. Under the plan passed Tuesday night, veterans would have new options on how to appeal benefits decisions they think are too low or missed critical health evidence. In some cases, individuals would give up the opportunity to submit new evidence or demand official hearings in favor of quicker resolutions. In others, they’d retain those rights, but face more reasonable timelines for submissions and decisions.
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Reply Senate advances VA Choice fix, claims appeals reform package (Original post)
nitpicker Aug 2017 OP
CRK7376 Aug 2017 #1
niyad Aug 2017 #2
Cold War Spook Aug 2017 #3

Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Wed Aug 2, 2017, 07:45 AM

1. VA pushed Choice program on me

I have a VA facility about an hour away and I asked if they had somebody closer to home for me. They said sure, made an appointment then sent me notification of new appointment. I cancelled it because it was over 2 hours away. VA has taken good care of me and I have no problems using them, being seen in a timely manner, But the Choice program needs some seems to need some help.

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Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Wed Aug 2, 2017, 12:10 PM

2. not holding my breath for any improvements

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Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Fri Aug 11, 2017, 08:40 AM

3. Choice Plus works for me.

 

I live 2 1/2 hours from the Fayetteville NC VA hospital and its new clinic. I live 1 1/2 hours away from the Wilmington VA clinic. There is a clinic near me in Jacksonville, but all it is, is primary care, psych and blood work. I am 74 years old and need a lot of tests and specialists. So far this year, Choice Plus has found me a local eye doctor, neurologist, sleep apnea specialist and dermatologist. I did have to go to a non-VA hospital in Wilmington for a heart catherterization and the Wilmington VA for an MRI. I have not had to go to Fayetteville for over 2 years. I know that Congress is never going to increase the VA budget enough for them to hire the 40,000 health care providers it needs.

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