Changes coming to health care for veterans

Veterans will soon have more choices than ever so they can receive timely, high-quality care.

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Veterans around the country have started receiving a letter and brochure from the VA updating them on major changes coming to health care access.

Veterans will soon have more choices than ever so they can receive timely, high-quality care.

Beginning June 6, hundreds of thousands of the VA’S patient population will be eligible to see a medical provider within the community under certain criteria.

“It offers a brand new benefit to veterans for urgent or walk in care. So, eligible veterans who have an issue and want to go to a local urgent or walk in in network facility can do so now, without prior approval of the VA,” explains Amarillo Veterans Affairs Director Michael Kiefer.

It also provides enhanced access standards.

“So, for example, when you come to the VA you have to drive more than 30 minutes for a primary care appointment, you would be eligible to seek that care outside the VA,” says Kiefer.

All the eligibility criteria refer to veterans who are already enrolled with them and have been seen by a VA with and received some level of service in the past two years.

“It’s exciting that it’s going to allow many of our veterans who are in rural counties to access a community care provider," says Assistant Chief of Veterans Affairs Community Care David Bitting.

The VA encourages all veterans to read the letter that was sent to them so that they can understand the new benefits.

“Please carefully read that if you have any questions, please contact us in our community care office and we will be happy to make sure that you understand your benefit and how to exercise it," says Kiefer.

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