WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, released the following statement in response to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) updated criteria for eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program:
“This is a more accurate reflection of the distance our veterans live from VA medical facilities. Updating the VA distance requirement will ensure more veterans qualify for improved access to timely, reliable and dependable health services they earned. Allowing additional veterans to meet the qualifications of the Veterans Choice Program will improve health care access for our veterans who live long distances from VA medical facilities. I will work with my colleagues and Veterans Service Organizations to encourage enrollment in this program that improves access to health services for our veterans."
The Veterans Choice Program was passed by Congress and signed into law in 2014. One of the highlights of the law is that it allows veterans to see non-VA providers if a veteran lives 40 miles or more from a VA health facility. VA calculated the distance from their residence to the VA facility using a straight line. Today the requirement will reflect a more accurate mileage by using driving distance.