President Trump signs bill to expand private care for veterans

President Donald Trump at a rally at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville Tenn

President Donald Trump at a rally at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville Tenn

Trump signs the "VA Mission Act of 2018" in the Rose Garden.

"Without subjecting the program to any budgetary constraint, there is no incentive to continue to serve veterans with innovative, streamlined and efficient quality of care", according a Trump administration memo obtained by The Washington Post. "We have a responsibility to provide our Veterans with the care they deserve, while also being good stewards of the taxpayer dollar", the administration said in a statement.

The legislation also expands a "Caregivers Program" to cover families of veterans of all eras, not just those injured in the line of duty since 2001. The Tallahassee hero says with the stroke of a pen, President Donald Trump better equipped the country to serve soldiers like him when they need care.

In previous months, critics and other healthcare stakeholders have called for improvements to the Veterans Choice Program, citing enrollment errors, exceptionally long wait times, and a convoluted referral process that hinders patient access to care.

The law sets up a Veteran's Community Care Program that provides new standards for delivering veterans' care and allows the VA Secretary to furnish care for veterans from out-of-network providers as well as additional community providers.

Additionally, the VA Mission Act aims to ensure that veterans have access to care from non-VA providers, including coverage of urgent care.

"It's better than having somebody come along and say, 'Yeah, you did a good job, but we're not going to take care of you, '" Bedford said of the VA Mission Act.

"The Mission Act signed by the president today was very important piece of legislation that will improve services and conditions for all veterans".

Many veterans have moved from the Northeast to other parts of the country. The Choice Program aimed to connect veterans with healthcare when those veterans face wait times longer than 30 days, extraordinary travel distances, or limited care options at their VA medical centers.

Bergman sits on the VA Committee and Chairs the VA Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

"I have a dear friend who passed after waiting eight months for an appointment", said Lewis. "But it is not the most cost effective way to take care of our veterans".

"I think the move towards privatization of VA health services would mean.less substantial care for veterans", said Corey Lanham, the Mid Atlantic collective bargaining director for the National Nurses United union. That overhaul will take at least 10 years to be complete. The Mission Act also removed barriers for Telehealth statewide and nationwide medical consultations and diagnosis.

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