MTPR

Veterans Choice

Senator Jon Tester speaks at a joint hearing of the House and Senate veterans committees on Wednesday. Dec. 19, 2018.
CSPAN screenshot

Sen. Jon Tester said he’s worried that the Veterans Health Administration is straying from the direction Congress gave it when it passed a bill six months ago to reform how vets get health care outside the VA system.

"We could end up with a problem where we’re actually cutting benefits for our veterans moving forward," said Tester at a joint hearing of the House and Senate veterans committees Wednesday

A bill to reform the troubled Veterans Choice health care program took a big step forward Wednesday.

Senator Jon Tester says it won bi-partisan support in the Veterans Affairs committee he sits on, and should now go to the Senate floor.

More than 40 veterans took turns sharing stories about using the Veteran Affairs healthcare system during a meeting at the American Legion Post in Helena October 23, 2017.
Corin Cates-Carney

Inside American Legion Post #2 in Helena Monday night, more than 40 veterans took turns sharing stories of using the Veteran Affairs healthcare system, highlighting chronic issues, with the occasional kudos for specialized veteran care.

The town hall kicks off a week of closed door meetings between American Legion members and Montana VA leaders to hear updates on the agency and discuss improvements for veteran treatment.

Senator Jon Tester listens to Barb Korenberg from Missoula Skin Care Center at a veterans health care forum in Missoula Wednesday, May 31, 2017.
Eric Whitney

The Veterans health system in Montana is preparing to roll out a new effort aimed at fixing problems with the troubled “Veterans Choice” program.

Choice, launched by Congress in 2014, was supposed to help vets who live far from from VA facilities, or who have waited more than 30 days for care, get appointments in the private sector faster. It has been called a failure by many, although some vets have reported that Choice has improved their care.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

President Trump signed a bill today to temporarily extend a troubled program designed to allow veterans to get medical care in the private sector.

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