Veterans Choice: Making It Work
Congress enacted the Veterans Choice program in 2014 to speed up the time it took for veterans to get care. It came in the form of a $16 billion influx to the department of Veterans Affairs. The program allows veterans to work with a third-party contractor to make appointments outside of the VA if a health-care appointment cannot be provided within 30 days, or if they live more than 40 miles from the closest VA medical facility.
In April 2017, the program was extended to provide funding past the August expiration date.
An analysis conducted by NPR revealed that, overall, wait times did not improve after implementation of Veterans Choice. In this series, we explore a view from the Midwest as it relates to how Veterans Choice was communicated to veterans and how it has been received by those seeking care in northern Illinois.
- Part One: Tweaks Made To Veterans Choice, But Overhaul Remains Elusive. Includes an interview with NPR's Quil Lawrence about his year-long investigation of wait times after Choice went into effect.
- Part Two: Vets Call Veterans Choice 'A Piece Of Cake,' 'A Nightmare,' And Everything In Between. Includes interviews with veterans, volunteers, and case managers.
- Part Three: Those Charged With Helping Veterans Share Their Views On Veterans Choice. Includes interviews with representatives of county Veterans Assistance Commissions
- Part Four: Regional VA Hospitals Adapt To Veterans Choice Program. Includes interviews with administrators at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital and William S. Middleton Memorial Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.