Key VA Program a ‘Systemic Failure’

By Jordain Carney – 02/05/16 06:47 PM EST
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) wants to know how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will fix a key health program, calling its implementation a “systemic failure.”

“I consistently hear reports that the Department of Veterans Affairs is delaying the process of veterans’ requests to use the Choice Act, delaying the approval of provider participation in Choice, and delaying payments to participating providers,” he wrote in a letter to VA Secretary Bob McDonald released Friday.

Under the Choice Act, veterans who can’t get an appointment within 30 days are supposed to be able to use the Veterans Choice List, which gives them access to private non-VA care.

But Kirk pointed to a VA Office of the Inspector General report released Thursday on a Colorado Springs, Colo., facility. The report found that out of 288 veterans who had wait times of more than 30 days at the facility, all 288 were either not added to the Veterans Choice List or were added later than they should have been.

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