Trump extends private-sector health care program for vets

  • Trump extends private-sector health care program for vets

Trump extends private-sector health care program for vets

President Trump took his first concrete step Wednesday to address chronic problems in the Department of Veterans Affairs, signing a bill that extends stopgap services for veterans to go outside the VA medical system for care.

"This new law is a good start, but there is still much work to do", Trump said at a signing ceremony attended by VA Secretary David Shulkin and Florida Governor Rick Scott.

"The veterans have poured out their sweat and blood and tears for this country for so long, and it's time that they're recognized, and it's time that we now take care of them, and take care of them properly", Trump said.

In the weeks and months following that revelation, we learned of several more cases of wait-time manipulation taking place at VA hospitals around the country.

Patients can use the choice program if they lived more than 40 miles from a VA hospital or can't get an appointment within the span of 30 days.

Trump had pledged during the presidential campaign to give veterans freedom to seek care "at a private service provider of their own choice".

Mr. Shulkin has called on Congress to approve a more permanent solution to veterans' health care. The Trump administration has promised to work on "full-scale reform" of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Lucas said the Choice Program was a well-intentioned "quick fix" to the Phoenix scandal, but that it remains flawed and has forced too many veterans to seek care at what he termed failing VA facilities.

Extending the Veterans Choice Program helps to ensure the roughly 1.5 million veterans who benefit from Choice will continue to have an option to access quality health care closer to home from the 350,000 participating community providers. He said that at the news conference he would discuss progress at the VA since he took office on January 20. He said those appointments would have otherwise "lagged" in the VA scheduling system.

"Caregivers play a critically important role in the health and well-being of our veterans, and caring for an injured veteran is a labor of love", she said.