“Clark Fork Valley Hospital began preparing an application for the Veterans Choice Program as soon as we were aware of the program and the local need/interest,” says Carla Neiman, hospital CFO. “We are very anxious to serve local veterans under this program so they can get their healthcare services closer to home.”
Veterans Choice Program
Connecting veterans to timely and convenient access to healthcare in their local communities
The Veterans Access, Choice, Accountability Act (VACAA) of 2014 is a law that expands the number of options Veterans have for receiving care to ensure Veterans have timely access to high-quality care. The Veterans Choice Program (VCP) provides primary care, inpatient and outpatient specialty care, and mental health care for eligible Veterans when the local VA Medical Center (VAMC) cannot provide the services due to:
- Lack of available specialists.
- Long Wait Times
- Extraordinary distance from the Veteran's home.
CFVH Gains Veteran Choice Program Status
There was a delay in the time CFVH learned we were showing up as a registered provider on the VA Choice website and when we could begin offering services through the program. But it is official: CFVH is now considered an eligible non-VA Choice Provider and has begun accepting referrals from VA healthcare providers.
Important Information for Veterans
It is very important for the veteran to understand that even if they have received a Choice Card in the mail, they must work through the VA to be seen locally under this program. The VA must approve the service and schedule their appointment for them. It is also important for those with VA benefits to note that this program applies only to elective ambulatory services, such as clinic visits and diagnostic exams authorized by their VA provider. Emergency and inpatient hospital services are covered in the same way as they have been in the past.
“CFVH has been very diligent about making sure that our access staff not make appointments under this program without approval and authorization from the VA, in order to make sure that our veterans don’t get stuck with an unexpected bill for services that were not properly authorized,” says Neiman.
For more information on the VA Choice Program, please visit http://www.va.gov/opa/choiceact/ or call 866-606-8198.