Veterans Journal: VA revises regulations for vets’ emergency treatment reimbursement

Source: George W. Reilly, Providence Journal, January 21, 2018

… The nation’s largest federal union, the American Federation of Government Employees, sent a letter on Jan. 9 to the U.S. House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs leadership calling for an investigation into the two main contractors running the controversial Choice program that allegedly have defrauded taxpayers by nearly $90 million. The Veterans Choice Program allows eligible veterans to receive health care in their communities rather than waiting for a VA appointment or traveling over a distance to a VA facility. … In a September memo by the VA Office of Inspector General, titled “Accuracy and Timeliness of Payments Made Under the Choice Program Authorized by the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act,” it was found that at least two third-party administrators of the VA Choice Program had led to $90 million in improper charges to the American taxpayer. … The revelations of overcharging by third-party administrators is just the latest controversy plaguing the Choice program, which allows veterans to obtain quicker, local medical appointments than at a VA facility. Last month, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs voted along party lines to pass H.R. 4242 — VA Care in the Community Act — which would continue to funnel funding away from veterans’ first and best choice for health care at VA facilities, and sticking them in the back of the line at unaccountable, private, for-profit providers. …