Veterans Choice Card

Veterans Choice Reversal Doubles Access To Non-VA Care

Benjamin Krause

VA publicly announced a reversal of its “crow flies” Veterans Choice policy this week following public outcry after Minnesota news media called out the program. Local KARE 11 News highlighted outrageous impacts of VA’s foul up of the Veterans Choice Card Program.

Paul Walker, a local veteran dying of liver cancer, was unable to use Veterans Choice despite living more than 40 miles from the VA facility where he was required to seek care. The justification was that he lived within 40 miles “as the crow flies.” This is the equivalent of the “straight line” rule VA uses that defies reality or common sense since that distance lacks meaning based on modern roadway travel.

RELATED: Watch initial NBC video with Benjamin Krause and client Paul Walker

Minnesota Senator Al Franken and Rep. Tim Walz demanded answers from the Department of Veterans Affairs about the Veterans Choice Card Program. The call out by these politicians was the result of local news media station KARE 11 calling out the agency by highlighting veterans impacted by the program like Paul Walker.

Initially, the decision seemed like little more than faulty reasoning from an executive branch agency. After further analysis, the American public realized VA’s interpretation of Veterans Choice was the result of calculated deception from Congress as implemented by the agency.

True Veterans Choice would cost taxpayers around $50 billion. So, Congress and the executive branch negotiated the initiation interpretation. This initial interpretation resulted in most veterans not being eligible for the program.

To be eligible, a veteran must live 40 miles from the nearest VA clinic or be required to wait 30 days for an appointment. VA used the “straight line” method of distance measurement, which was not realistic. Now, VA will use a program like Google Maps to measure entitlement to the program.

Isn’t it almost unimaginable that VA would use such an old measure to define new benefits? It is almost as though the agency is saying “do as I say” versus “do as I do.” What will be the next change?


Similar Posts


    1. Richard Sellers i have a Veteran Friend he lives in Alaska he told me as long to chronic illness your not Screw some time their is nothing in this world done I by mistake


    1. Please don’t shout with all caps…the info you have is important and its difficult to read.

  2. I am supposed to see my VA cardiologist every 6 months. My last cardiologist appointment was in 2014 and his notes said he wanted to see me in 4 months. The VA never scheduled that appointment. In a recent clinic the doc asked who was my cardiologist and I honestly did not know.He attempted to schedule me but the closest was 4 months away. They then said I could use the choice program to see an outside cardiologist. Then the nearby VA clinic (that does not offer cardiology services) said no, that because I was close to them I would see the VA doc via television. Since it was a year and a half since I had seen a cardiologist, you would think that it would be some what of a priority to get a real live /in person to check me out!!

  3. My county, my state, too far behind…Pearl River county Mississippi is my home and my fellow veterans have an excellent VRO, not sure uf i xan mention her name but we all know and love her. It took me 2 years to get the choice program qualifications to see a counselor where i live. I have had my PTSD awardedbin service, severed, reinstated, severed and fighting for my rights to it now. No record of my MST can be found _ conveniently for them. No homeless veteran service, no outreach within 50 miles and quality of care and services at VAMC Biloxi (other than surgery)(and gyno) are ridiculous and disheartening. My social worker Gerry is my only hope. Need a voice here.

    1. Hello Paige…I am not very computer savvy. I am trying to reach you. I used to be Freddy’s school bus driver. Ms. Gail Could you please email me when you get a chance? [email protected] thank you.

  4. Choice what a joke I called choice when the St cloud Mn va could not get me in to a urologist.
    6 week wait so at their suggestion I applied for and received a Choice card.
    I called choice and they said they would arrange an appointment.
    great they made an appointment and I asked if was covered Choice said yes 100 percent covered.
    Appointment went fine but shortly after that bills from the Dr and Clinic came to me I called
    them and told them it is Choice/ Healthnet
    The stupid Dr and clinic says they do not work with the VA or health net and told me they would ruin my credit.
    I am sure choice identified themselves when they made the appointment.
    When ever I made an appointment for the past fifty or so years they always ask who is your insurance.
    Be that as it is I start a 7 month attack on Choice and Healthnet only to find that they have an authorization number for me but the Doctors wont bill them.
    Would you think the choice plan would be able to get around this and pay them or heck pay me and I can pay them.
    I call the adverse credit division and all they do is pass me around.
    Now in contact with Mn Senator Al Franken
    too late my credit is already ruined by choice I dont know if it can ever be fixed.
    Wrote letters to Choice no reply . sent letter to state VA director he did reply and set me up with a guy that has claimed to help but his suggestion was to contact adverse credit.
    I had done that long before he tried to help.
    I am not giving up but what does it say about the VA and health net when they have a department to take care of adverse credit.
    problems they created.
    Choice use at your own risk.
    Looking for suggestions or any phone number of one employee in the va that cares
    [email protected]

  5. Oh yeah, because a couple 2 bit outpatient clinics without specialty care services, or anything other than a handful of PC docs and a “lab” which only collects blood and urine samples and sends them off, is really able to provide specialty care, emergency care, and the like.

    The VA choice program is a freaking fraud. I love 70 miles from the nearest VAMC, 34 miles from a CBOC as i described above, and have a civi hospital 20 miles away. Yet when i needed an MRI which i was told wouldn’t be able to have done until 4 months later, which the VA refused to fee base until after i tried dealing with the VA choice fraud thanks to my congressmans office raising all hell. I called and was told that since i had a CBOC less than 40 miles they can’t do anything. When i told them it says plain as day, if they cannot get it done within 30 days they should be able to approve it, i get told there was no indication of needing an MRI in my records…. which clearly showed an MRI consult, and appt scheduled for 4 months out from then. They told me I would need to call my VAMC, and have them do something, and given a number to call… no answer, rang for 5 minutes. Thats when i called my congressmans office , and told them the VAMC told me they could not fee base it, that i should use the veterans choice, and vice versa from the veterans choice people. Come to find out the choice program is run by contractors. Contractors, who were awarded a HUUUUGE contract as far as $$$$ goes. Part of the contract is they handle all the approvals, payment processing etc. There are “bonus provisions” for “performance” of said contract as well. IOW the more they prevent access, the more they make.

    So a rigged system, that does nothing but make a handful of people in bed with politicians hundreds of millions in legalized kickbacks, while keeping the problem real, so they can fleece the taxpayers for even more with other “fixes”, and not the definition that means correction.

    The VA is the epitome of corruption in Washington DC, and the contracts and numerous complaints with the largest contracts, such as QTC services, and now this program, only go to show the VA, McDonald, the politicians, and the senior management and executives within the VA, are all corrupt SOBs, who have no interest in correcting all the deficiencies, because then there is no money to be made, which means less campaign donations, which means less political rhetoric and “issues” to address, which means less votes from veterans, which means less endorsements from veterans organizations… because even they benefit from a broken system and truly have no interest in fixing the numerous deficiencies because it means less money for them.

    1. I live in the Atlanta VA area. the VA hospital that recently killed two veterans and even after employees were in deed at fault they did not fire the employee’s. But all of the stories i am reading are exactly what i deal with at the VA. they lie like it is an art form. i have had to resort to recording all my interactions with the VA. and i have caught them stating policies that dont exist. phone transfer games and worse. Now black lives matter at this location is making themselves well known. I record them i record them i caught them. but what do i need medical. my life is endanger if i do not have my meds sugar and more.

  6. Does this program cover veterans that reside in the Philippines? If so, how does one apply?

  7. Is anyone on here goes Facebook why is because is i need to know Robert McDonald Secretary of Veterans Affairs email address because that way i can get it right why i am typing this i believe this site can’t give up Veterans email address. ……Thanks


  9. Any system as large as the VA will have some bad apples in it. I am not saying all of the horror stories are untrue, but certainly some or parts of some are.

    I live in Minneapolis and am covered by the VA at the Minneapolis MC. I can see my PCP or any specialist at no cost. I can receive inpatient or outpatient care, also at no charge.

    I also am covered by an inexpensive Medicare Advantage plan ($39 per month) which allows me to go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, which is 80 miles, or 1 hour 20 minutes from my home. The cost is $30 to see any specialist, and a very nominal fee for specialised tests of a maximum of $50 no matter how many tests are done in one day.

    Mayo Clinic is one of the most respected medical centers in the world. I have been there dozens of times over the past 8 years and based on my experience, there isn’t any medical center in the world that holds a candle to it.

    Yet I choose to go to the VAMC which is 3 miles or 10 minutes from my home. Why? Because it is convenient, good, and cheap (free). They also have a very good emergency facility and I can get there in minutes by ambulance.

    I had two heart attacks in May of this year and went to a local heart hospital and needed to be admitted there. Those two hospitalizations and numerous tests set me back $1000 out of pocket. If I had been able to go to the VAMC it would have cost me nothing.

    I have been able to go to my VAMC for a little over a month now. In that time I have been seen by my assigned PCP within one week, an audiologist who has prescribed top of the line hearing aids (no charge), a pharmacist to go over and approve my meds including a non-formulary drug and a schedule 3 drug (testosterone cypionate).

    I have also seen a cardiologist who, based only on my EKG and history, has scheduled an appointment with a VA electrophysiologist (great credentials–I thoroughly vetted him) for early next month. My cardio thinks I need a repeat RF cardio ablation procedure by the head of their electrophysiology department.

    I am scheduled for a routine eye exam the 5th of next month, and a fitting for my already on order on February 1, 45 days from now.

    So obviously, this is only a first impression. But it is a very good one. I’m sure others have also had similar experiences, as the Minneapolis VAMC is rated 95 out of a possible 100 by vets having been attended to there with only 4 of 137 ranking higher wth scores of 96 or 97.

    Lastly, my experience with the VA may not be typical. But I do doubt that the nearly 100% negative reviews posted here are typical either.

    The VA does have issues and they do urgently need fixing. But it ain’t all bad, folks.

  10. Jon Stewart (Not his name) Often takes shots at Southerners etc, Maybe a Dose of “Tooth Cancer” would keep his stupidass mouth shut, Or a well placed right cross snapping that slack Jaw out of alinement so he could take his Broth thru a straw would be “FUNNY” I`ll be MORE Than Happy, To do it if someone can get me within reach. “Anything for a Laugh” I Despise that SOB. No not bitter, Just hate a smartass.

    1. Maybe a dose REALITY will bring you up into the 21st century. Please cite examples were Jon Stewart actually discriminates against “southerners”. Jon has done more to expose the VA farce then anyone on public TV.

      He even runs a program to get vets into the TV industry.

      Yep, he really hates veterans, especially SOUTHERN vets…..REALLY?????

      “Or a well placed right cross snapping that slack Jaw out of alinement so he could take his Broth thru a straw would be “FUNNY” I`ll be MORE Than Happy, To do it if someone can get me within reach. ”

      Maybe I should do that to YOU to wake you up to reality…..

  11. There are two programs administered by contractors TriWest and Health Net for the Veterans Administration. The programs are the Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) initiative and the Veterans Choice Program.

    To be eligible for the Veterans Choice Program, a veteran must live 40 miles from the nearest VA clinic or be required to wait 30 days for an appointment. So for Veteran Paul Walker ,who lives near a VA Clinic, and other Veterans like him they are not eligible for the Veterans choice program even thought the VA clinic near them does not offer the care that is needed.

    That is where the Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) initiative should have been applied in Paul Walkers care and for other Veterans like him. When the VA clinic that is near you doesn’t offer the care that is required the distance and 30 day rules apply to the distance from the facility offering the care and not the distance to your local clinic. So that they could receive care locally under the Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) initiative.

    Secretary McDonald boosted an increase of 4.3 million appoints this year over last in the Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) initiative when he asked congress for money from the Veterans Choice Program. Although McDonald’s boosted of a 4.3 million increase of appointment the Head of the Health Net program administering the PC3 program could only cite about 150,000 appointments set by Health Net under the program in testimony before the Senate.

    As for the other contractor TriWest. TriWest is opening an additional facility and hiring 500 workers to handle the Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) initiative. Also expanding the care a Veteran can receive under the program to include Primary Care.

    So for now the issue of who is eligible for the Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) initiative it is a matter of who administers the program in your area.

    If you live in an area where the programs are administered TriWest and meet the criteria you will most likely be eligible, but if you live in an area where the programs are administered by Health Net and meet the criteria most likely you will not be eligible.

    TriWest is a non-profit organization that was founded by a former aid to Senator John McCain and is owned by non-profits such as Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA).

    Health Net is a for-profit organization that is currently using the VA Contracts to sell it’s self to Centene another for-profit.

    1. That’s really a very Bad “CHOICE” so here we go again. Another crony of the AZ “sin-ator” who has Homestead his position in the “sin-ate”… I wonder how much dinero or campaign contributions big Mc got from these yahoos. Can anyone expose him on this because TRIWEST SUCKS & VETS CHOICE IS AN ULTIMATE PUKE-UP FAILURE. I got 3 calls in 1 day from these idiots, they wanted me to give them my personal info by phone but I asked them which of the 2 non-VA auths he’s calling about, idiot refused to answer my question, so I hung up on these damasses 3x. Then I called Traitor West & they don’t have my name in their database. What a bunch of pathetic and useless bums. These are just another of those senate vons-kluster-fuk making $$Millions off of tax payers backs. They ruined a perfectly well oiled, well-run machine with these moronic program. Idiots, uhhhh.. I didn’t have problems before Traitor West came, now it’s fukupski. My chiro and acupuncture clinics still hasn’t gotten paid since Dec 2014 & Jan 2015. The same Auths that was VA issued are now being questioned by Traitor-West. Wow! I’ll send this to Trump to say, “you’re FIRED” to THESE MORONS. These Has To stop. They’re totally USELESS.

  12. There is so much negative facts I would like to relate, but it would take hours. A couple of points is that I am blind in left eye due to wrong treatment by VA Palo Alto. I had a blood vein growing near the retina & they did not have a specialist that could treat it, so they made an appointment with, & had the outside doctor come in & treat me at the VA facility. He did not have any equipment so he had the VA set up their Laser to kill the vein. My vision was blurry as the vein was right in front of the central focus point of the retina. He used the laser & my eye sight was virtually blind in that eye & not knowing it, but I had a scar burned in the critical area of the retina. I did not know it was done wrong. Moved to Texas & further problem with pain in eye & blood vein growth. Went to Shreveport, La. VA & they sent me out to Retina specialist. They asked how I got the scar on the retina & told them of using laser to kill vein & he scarred the retina when he did the repair. They asked was this guy a doctor or what, you never use a laser near the retina & they staff discussed it in disbelief. Their doctor, Dr. Renn, used a long needle syringe & used an awkward stance to get the right location & injected some kind of medicine. The staff flat told me what that doctor did, broke all ethics of his profession leaving me blind in that eye & it should not of been damaged.

    When I left California & moved to Texas, a doctor that became a pretty good friend gave me a sheet of data & said he was not supposed to give me the particular sheet with doctors remarks, etc. & some history saying I could know what was going on when I start over in Texas. After leaving VA hospital I looked & saw where an ENT doctor I had seen about a month befor lied on his report. Why are they allowed to keep their data secret. It should be open for us to keep them honest. Can you imagine the medical problems one could have due to his lies.

    Another one I want to relate is that I always had a problem with Atrial Fib but only had episode for a 10 hour period every 5 or 6 months. My heart & arteries were all in good shape & they could not understand what caused the AF. So they started
    changing medications & dosage. Eight times, Propafenone,increase, Tiasec, increase, Ameodarone, increase, they now had my heart in A.F. full time. It got worse all 8 changes & increases. Metoprolol, increase with my protesting. Ended in hospital for 4 days 3 of which they thought I was having a heart attack. It was just my hearts reaction to the Metoprolol. I since have had 2 cardiologists wanting to have a giant increase of dosage & I refused to do it. Along the way I believe they call it an Angiogram where the run a camera up your artery. The head doctor gave instructions to Junior doctors & left. Go back to my room & was told they placed a stent in my artery to my dismay as my arteries are supposedly in good shape. The head doctor made his rounds in the evening & was very upset, even to the point of being angry. Asked why the stent & he said it was a mistake it should not of been put in. I wanted an explanation & he just walked off. Then I see Dr. Archer my new Primary Care Doctor & she says she sees I have artery disease. I told her no. She says they do not insert stent except for artery disease. So I explain to her it was done for practice, a laugh, then she believed me. Then went to surgery in Dallas VA for Pulmonary Vein ablation surgery that was supposed to be 99% or better effective. The Electrophysiologist that prepared me for the surgery left me on Plavix, as I am going to sleep on operating table, Johnny Cash was on the radio & the head doctor comes out of his control room & said he was going to do the other ablation surgery. He would not do the Pulmonary Vein surgery because I was on Plavix instead of warfarin. I woke up with a pacemaker & defibrillator because the prep person was not on same page as the head surgeon. I hate it They control the secondary part of heart only & let the primary chamber run wild. Being in A.F. most of time is God awfully uncomfortable as I can feel it in upper body, head, & neck. Sometimes in back of head & neck it actually moves them very slightly.
    Robert Meacham

    1. I have been going to the Minneapolis va since 2010; which started on my two week leave from my Basra Iraq deployment tour in January. I had a colonoscopy which found a wild type malignant tumor in my sigmoid colon. It was progressed to stage 3. My tumor had burst resulting in blood in my bowel movements. This would happen only occasionally with no pattern of when I would have blood in my stool. Dr. Spencer performed surgery on my left Colon in February of 2010. I then was advised by my former oncologist dr wadwha to get chemotherapy (drug: 5FU paired with oxiplatin). I was also on Paxil 20 mg since 2007 for general anxiety. I then endured chemo for 6 months. During that time I had complications with my white blood cell count being too low in the levels. So I was advised to get cytopenias (stimulating bone marrow cell growth) injections via the stomach. I still experienced a viral infection which resembled mono like symptoms. I did have mono (Epstein Barr Virus) in winter of 2005 when I completed A.I.T via fort Sam Houston, TX. I heard from peer conversations that the mono virus affected more than me in Charlie Company and it was from shared water bottles. After chemo I experienced paroxysmal SVT and had a 5 hour heart ablation surgery on 10/14/10. In 2011 I received liver surgery from dr. Al-Refaie. On 9/23/11 I received salpingo-oophorectomy via the U of M. In 2012 I received another liver surgery from Al-Refaie once again. I then had remission until February 2015 where this wild metastatic colon cancer is now located in my abdomen lining. I am currently on 20 mg Celexa since about 2012. I started on and off 2 mg lorazepam also for anxiety and depression. Upon meeting my current surgeon Dr. Anthony T Rezcallah we had a different kind of topic of conversation where he revealed to me that his parents number from when he was a child included 474-5131. This is odd because my Social Security Number includes these numbers as well. I went to my scheduled minor surgery appointment on 3-20-15 for a small molelike growth on my left chest below my clavicle by 3 inches or so. During the procedure Dr. Rezcallah with out consent told 3 U of M medical students my SSN while explaining the story of his parents similar phone number. Now based on this website and the “Indiana dr. Frankenstein” I am more than concerned in progressing further future surgeries at the Minneapolis VA Hospital. My current oncologist Dr. Mark Alan Kline did say prior to meeting Dr. REZCALLAH I DO have the option to go to an outside medical facility however I have not confirmed this in person with Dr. Kline. Which is abnormal from my past medical care experienced from Dr. Wadwha. Also I DO have a choice card from the VA but don’t live 40 miles away from the nearest VA Hospital.
      Melissa Kramer.

    2. To Robert meacham, you need file a tort 94 against the VA. If you are not sure what I’m talking about get hold of an attorney that specializes in such type of suits or action. You can’t sue the doctor but you can sue the VA. This coming from a retired vet rep.

  13. 03/29/2015

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    Monday will be a big day for Senator Baldwin.

    Here is something not to forget:

    By Nick Bohr
    4 charged in Milwaukee VA Hospital drug investigation
    UPDATED 6:12 PM CST Mar 07, 2014
    MILWAUKEE —Charges have been filed against four people involved in a drug investigation at Milwaukee’s veterans hospital.

    WISN 12 News has learns of a criminal investigation at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center involving the staff.
    WISN 12 News reporter Nick Bohr first reported on this case Thursday, when officials declined to comment on the investigation.
    VIDEO: Workers at Milwaukee’s VA Hospital charged
    Jermaine Cohill, 38, Ryan Driscoll, 35, Alicia Ojeda, 27, and Yvette Wright, 46, are charged with various narcotic charges related to possession or delivery of oxycodone from the VA Hospital, 5000 W. National Ave.
    The Veteran Affairs Police Department investigation began in early December after a fellow worker reported seeing three certified nursing assistants and a licensed practical nurse passing or exchanging medications.
    One of the employees admitted she would sell oxycodone to another nursing assistant for $5 a pill, but the others said they gave their pills to the others.
    According to the complaint, oxycodone and Percocet pills were transferred and sold among the four for several months.
    There’s no indication they were stealing drugs from the hospital. or from patients, Bohr said.
    In response to WISN 12 News questions, the VA Hospital administration confirmed the four suspects are still employees, but refused to say whether they’ve been suspended.
    They haven’t been arrested but are ordered to appear in court to face the charges later this month.
    Wright could face more than 25 years in prison if convicted of all charges. Ojeda and Cohill face up to three years if convicted, and Driscoll could face six years in prison.

    Keep adding the pressure.

    Good Work


    Don Karg

  14. Isn’t rather ironic that the VA immediately (and Sec. McDonald, as few days ago as well) now states “…it will cost the program MORE money…”…when according to the VA’s own maligned assessment, “Veterans rather use the VA and are happy with it rather than outside care…” (paraphrased)? So logic dictates that left to VA Math, since nobody was really using it, that was GRAVY for their own use…now that their caught with their asses in air, they somehow use same VA Math that somehow implies it will cost even MORE money? Huh?!!!
    Even Congress trying to “deal with” the VA, is like trying to kill a rabid Opossum with a broken rake…the VA plays passive aggressive vey well…like a terribly misbehaving two year old.
    Time for the VA to wake-up…they are being watched and it’s working. We must keep it up. Revolutions are quite often result of people finally having had enough of being screwed over and over, year after year…seems most of our gov’t could use an enema!

    I hope others can see how I find it ridiculous that the VA would want even more money for this specific program?

  15. What a remarkable trick the VA pulled in getting the Veterans Choice legislation enacted! It promised veterans and lawmakers that it could fix problems related to access IF it got about a $25 billion bump in its budget.

    From this point, it’s been all sleight-of-hand. The biggest mistake that the president and Congress have made is allowing the VA to decide how to administer this program. Despite the agency’s egregious misconduct over the years, the executive and legislative branch seemed to accept the premise that it would “do the right thing” and administer this program correctly without additional oversight.

    Left to its own devices, the VA has predictably made access to outside care so hard to obtain that it has effectively maintained the status quo. It has made very little meaningful improvement in this program, AND it managed to wangle an extra $25 billion into its budget. I guess this legislation should have been called, “The VA Executive Bonus Enhancement Act.”

    As famed crooked politician Rahm Emanuel said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.” The VA has managed to turn last year’s revelations about its immoral, unethical, illegal, and just plain evil practices into a major win for its bureaucrats. Allowing an entity as historically corrupt as the VA to implement mandates changes is allowing the proverbial inmates to run the asylum.

  16. The VA national bird the “Crow” is dead!! The VA can now eat their CROW!!! What a bunch of idiots at the VA trying to attempt that to skim money off of paying travel miles. Is that going to their bonus money account fund??? If the VA don’t change for the veteran they need to be shut down and all veterans can go to the doctor of their choice and the VA will pay for it and no bonuses will occur. Nor will some VA doctors will be making more than the President of the United States. This is VA is GREED at it’s finest!!! Now give ALL us veterans our compensation money that we should have got years ago!! Delay-Deny-Die has to change.

    1. Its not just the VA Its congress It was they who wanted to cut to the bare bones any thoughts of privatization by pouting so many strings on the program so that it would just cost them according to the Congressional Budget Office eta say 2 billion with all the strings versus without any strings 50 billion So the legislators chose to cheat veterans by putting in all the strings and requirements so Choice would not be used Your traditional veterans groups went along with it so that Choice would not work and that privatization or an y true Choice would be short circuited as they the traditional veterans groups are in bed with the VA. Thios are the facts There is no amount of money fr quality care of veterans If congress is going to guarantee our civil rights to the best quality of care as they have done in writing then back it up as a cost of all its war and war involvments, etc That is the bottom line Time to pocket, march and demonstrate and picket at your legislators door and at the veterans comities of congress and senate doors demanding g we want the right to choice and private care without strings . Join us in this effort

      Lee Horowitz, M.Ed, CAGS
      US Navy Disabled Vietnam Era Veteran
      [email protected]
      Veterans Committee NCIL

    2. The va travel handbook makes it clear when paying travel reimbursement it is to go from zip code to zip code or address to address whichever is more favorable to the veteran, they were actually doing this at the denver va as it put my at almost exactly 50 miles (49.53 miles) and I always got paid for 50. I come to southern arizona and the do the exact opposite, they go by what’s more favorable to the VA. In Colorado they used map quest, in Arizona they used another program built by the VA (it’s a part of CHRIS but very old). As my actual address is several miles beyond the actual zip code location, I get cheated milage every single time. When I would bring this up to the VA management I was threaten with police action, so I got scared a remained silent.

  17. Has ANYONE on here used the Veterans Choice program? So far I have not heard any reports about how this program is working.


      1. I live60 miles from the VAMC in Atlanta and have used the choice program a couple of times with good results. It’s just like everything else at the VA, you have to follow up on everything yourself. Example: my Dr. Wasn’t paid for six months and I called the choice and got the right billing address to get him paid. I’ve had two major surgerys with excellent results, one was a cancer fight. I don’t believe it the medical care as much as it is the f—— beauracrats to get to the Dr’s.

      2. Larry Smight don’t you know by now VA Has Nother for Veterans they for the the mone you and benefits….I know money bull shot walks.

    2. I am wife of profound disabled vet, I tried to use this choice card as he qualified for it. Called TriWest, said yes he qualified. Told me who to call, now he needed to see Dr soon as he had pnmonia symptoms. Took him to who they recommended only to be told will not pay becaz has to go through maybe up to seven day qualification every time you want to see Dr. This is most useless program ever that has come out. Bottom line, needs to do away with this program and fast. Wasteful money! Certainly no help for veterans! I contacted TriWest and she said yes this is how program works, wait for qualification, then wait for appoint. Shame on VA for throwing money into this useless program!

      1. The VA knows what their doing and they will use the money for bonuses!

        They knew they wanted it derailed! Helping a veteran would mean it works and they are no longer needed, like the black and white t.v.!

        If we don’t do something soon, they will do the same thing to our children!

        Our government needs action not just words! You hear all the barks and no bites!

        Sorry you had to go through what you did!

      2. Took talking to 25 people plus a LONG laundry list of additional hoops over 5 weeks to get my second appointment under the veterans choice program. I’m in bad shape now and beyond disgusted.

  18. I am probably wrong, but I thought that one of the eligibility criteria for the Choice program was if the veteran lived more than 40 miles from a “full service” VA medical facility (not just clinics).

    1. The law includes clinics so if you Iive over 40 miles from any VA facility you get choice . As an example I live 3 miles from a VA outpatient clinic and 15 miles from a VA Medical Center but am 50 miles from the Philadelphia VAMC where I can only get the services I need Thus I am only eligible under the 30 day appointment rule The facts are congress needs to pony up 50 billion 100 billion or whatever They promised via our civil rights to the best quality of care and there should be no strings or requirements on choice whatsoever It was done so that congress saves money and also traditional veterans groups would loose power as they do not want privatization at all nor veterans in droves seeking private care Its why you need to look at Concerned veterans of America who happen to want and have the platform of c true choice and privatization Its why every oner veterans group hates Concerned Veterans of America as they have a lot to loose if the VA went private or lost patients to the private sector There would be very little VA period All disabled people need to have choices and we should demand and march on congress that we too have such right to private care without strings If you dung wars fund our access and choice to private care without strings Lets March on Washington and sit in and picket your legislators.We will join in anyone that does so .

      Lee Horowitz, M.Ed, CAGS
      [email protected]
      NCIL Veterans committee

    2. Problem with the logic behind the Choice system is that most of us do not go to the clinic for much more than meds or to chat with our PCP. I have yet to see a specialist working in a VA Clinic. This program is nothing more than a slush fund and they cannot believe that people are bitching about their little covert operation. Blatant robbery of the taxpayers and the sheeple who blindly follow their every decision.

    3. Nope, if you live within 40 miles of a clinic also. The VA has not rectalfied this one yet. When I was told that I had to wait for over 30 days for a Podiatry appt. I told the scheduler to get the ball rolling on the Choice program. Two days later I was scheduled and seen soon thereafter. BUT, the Choice Card person told me that there were exceptions. I told her that that little tidbit had escaped the local news. No reply.

  19. So, I’m a 100 percent disabled veteran and yesterday I was diagnosed with a stomach tumor. I had the endoscopy via fee basis since I’m about 130 miles from the Tomah VA. The local clinic who did the endoscopy wants a CT scan and sonogram asap. I had to message my primary care doctor at Tomah who won’t be back until next week. I’m also about 25 miles from a CBOC so a choice card won’t work even though the CBOC doesn’t have the equipment to do advanced testing for stomach cancer.

    Hmmmm….wonder how long this is all going to take?

    1. 5 months ago, I paid a visit to the VA ER for a killer painful rotator cuff tare. I was refferred to MRI for imaging and physical therapy was scheduled for over a month later. I pushed the issue and was scheduled to outside MRI facility 3 weeks later, still a very long time. I went to my PT but there was no report or imagry for the therapists to reffer to, so My PT was rescheduled for another month and a half down the road. I took the earlier / later appointment so that the imgaery would at least be on the VA campus. So here I am nearly 5 months and still no PT. My shoulder is almost back to normal and it seems like, other than the excrutiating pain, the delay, denigh and hope you die phylosophy is working.

      1. Veterans call the Veteran Affairs Committee in Washington, DC tell them your beliefs how to Veterans Healthcare plus email Senator McConnell their him your beliefs how to improve Veterans Healthcare now matter what State you lived in or call by telephone. ..keep calling do not surrender.

  20. I just finished a cancer treatment at the VA in SLC UT sort of. Being that the VAMC is associated with the Huntsman Cancer Clinic as a teaching hospital. I had all but a single surgery at the the Huntsman Cancer Clinic.Just the luck of the draw. I have a VAMC outpatient clinic 10 miles away. The VAMC is 47 and the Huntsman is 44. So I had to drive every day. But I was lucky enough to be treated by one of the best centers in the country. I had to visit three different doctors in the private sector who all thought I had a sore throat. The VA finally diagnosed it then the Huntsman cured it.I call that pure luck on my part.

  21. I am one of the people that live more than 40 miles as the crow flies to the VAMC I use. It is located 44 miles straight line and 68 miles by road. I am not eligible because another VAMC has a clinic which is used for Primary Care, Optometry and lab work is located 37 miles away. As most of you know, you have to be treated at a CBOC which is affiliated with the main VISN you are a patient. If I went to the VAMC that was associated with this CBOC, I would have to drive 78 miles one way. Beneficiary travel would also only be paid for the distance between my home and the VAMC I attend.

    Most of my visits are to specialty clinics which are only located at the VAMC. If they don’t have an appointment in a specialty clinic available within 30 days, they will send you 130 miles to a larger VAMC within their network.

    The program should state: Should you live at least 40 road miles from the nearest place you can receive VAMC care for the issue you present, you are eligible for the Choice program – period. To eliminate the question over fee reimbursement, the VA should reimburse doctors and other practitioners at Medicare rates. In other words, if the doctor accepts Medicare, he would bill and accept that amount as payment with the normal patient deductible absorbed by the VA.

    Veterans should have a choice. That choice should include private care, VA care or a combination of the two. I guess we do have a choice now, do it their way or pay for private care out of our pocket. Put another way, you have two choices – take it – or leave it.

    1. Well put, although everyone semms to forget that if we were supported though law to go to a private practice without interference and all of that was smoothed out to work the way it was intended to work, you can bet the VA wouldn’t pay the private practitioners on a timely basis and not many practitioners would bother with the “VA choice program” and getting stiffed by them.. The VA already pulls stuff like that when they “fee basis” out the veterans to priv. pract. VA stiffed my payment to a private pract. and I didn’t find out about it until almost 2 years later when the doctor finally sent me the bill and dinged my credit report because of it. The VA was proved wrong by me and the dept that wrote the fee base contract, and they were caught red handedly trying to scew me and the doctor. I read they do the same thing to many veterans all over the country. They don’t give a shit about your credit, and nobody gets penalized there. Can you imagine the payment problems that will occur sending more vets to private? Doctors in the know won’t have anything to do with them, you will only find really bad doctors that will, and the VA will create the picture that vets “hate” the whole program ’cause of the bad treatment in the private world, and will say to everyone “we told you they would rater come to mama”. The VA is an evil organization with very evil intentions, and our Congress and Executive Branch are the ones letting them do it to you, with the taxpayor’s money and the “money” the treasury has to print which is backed by the Fed’s word. George Washington et all must be going crazy watching all this….if the VA hasn’t stopped them that is.

      1. Bullsxxx, Exactly right on fee basis. Went to ER with heart attack symptoms and VA kept telling me the Hospital and attending Drs. never gave them bills. There is a convenient deadline to submit the bill and the Vet. is prohibited to deliver a copy. WTF? The 3 bills were resent by civilian billing at my request 3
        seperate times and still ignored for months. They kindly resent because they were burned in past by VA as well. ( lack of payment) My Compensation Lawyer was kind enough to call Fee basis to pressure them to acknowledge my bills.
        I was looking at a 15,000 bill. I was lucky, Many are not. I hear story after story and the threats against us are criminal. My Primary even admitted I’m a target because I stand up for myself and other Vets. I see the EXACT thing happening with “choice card” Smoke and mirrors. Word of advice..don’t let time slip by and be sure the bill has been paid.
        The VA is a well oiled machine of deception!
        Don’t hold your breath for Congress help unless it hits the front page.

      2. I too have felt the pinch due to the VA welching on payment of my back treatment (spinal decompression) that was VA Fee Basis referred after successful treatment 2+ years of reminders to pay and assurances that the proper paperwork had been completed and payment would be soon. Never paid, the Chyropractor will not take any new or returning Vets.

  22. I for one would like to receive all my care at a private doctor for care. It seems that employees are still putting statements about me into my official medical records. Yesterday I went to the Denver VAMC to see a Surgeon. There were 4 people in a small room to ask me Questions. One Question they asked do you Drink ?.
    I advised them that I ha not touched a single drop of booze or about 7 Seven years. The Doctor stated well your records show that when you came for your colonoscopy they wrote down that you were drinking. I was stunned, to hear this.
    I again wrote to BOB and advised him what I was told and that I would like a meeting as this has to be looked into, there are many errors Example, they have over and over in the record under Race Mr. …….. is a black man. I am Hispanic and have very fair skin. They recorded also that I was stabbed while in the Military, when I was not stabbed while in the Military.
    It goes on and on and per the Associate Director well those were the facts at the time and if you do not agree with it, fill out this form and we will put it in your file. File what file, the hard copy. No one looks at the hard file, they use computers. So any thing I write will never be seen as FACT. This is effecting me and no one seems to care. How can Employees write anything they want and it not be the real Facts.
    If the VA is really looking at this site, then I am now asking them to assist me in this matter and help me clear my name and stop hurting me. If someone would really look into the matter I would be vindicated pure and simple.

  23. They should shit can this idea about mileage and base the program on the needs of the vet.

  24. I still think there will be something that will make this card not worth the paper it is printed on. I still would like to know about the 30 day part of it. How is the 30 day rule stated? Is it 30 days from the approval of the (NO) choice card people? 30 days from the VA not being able to make the veteran an appointment within a specified time? I still think finding a Dr. to accept the card is going to be another problem.
    I hope I am wrong on this and for once the VA does a good thing for us vets, we could use a break.
    Also I hope this is not considered whining, I am asking for more clarification on this benefit the VA is providing for their veterans in the healthcare system that was promised to all vets who served in their respective branch.

Comments are closed.