Trump extends program allowing some veterans to use local doctors, hospitals

Trump extends program allowing some veterans to use local doctors, hospitals”

Later in the morning, he will sign S. 544 the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act.

Although the program is now limited to the Phoenix area, the collaboration is a test-run of sorts as VA Secretary David Shulkin mulls an overhaul proposal aimed at reducing veterans' wait times. The new law allows the VA to operate its Choice program until its funding runs out, expected early next year.

"The veterans have poured out their sweat and blood and tears for this country for so long, and it's time that they're recognized, and it's time that we now take care of them, and take care of them properly", said President Trump.

The 2014 initiative ensures that USA veterans do not have to wait long periods of time or drive long distances to get their healthcare needs from a provider and can opt instead to receive healthcare from a local provider. The program was scheduled to expire on August 7 with almost $1 billion left over. Many vets complained it made getting that care more of a hassle. Yet the program itself often encountered long wait times of its own. The Trump administration has promised to work on "full-scale reform" of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Reform is on the way to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, as Trump signed a new executive order this morning. Those groups generally oppose privatization as a threat to the viability of VA medical centers.

President Trump called it a good start and "there is still much work to do". Major features of the program include medical support for caregivers, who often suffer from health problems as they focus on the veteran's well-being, and providing stipends to compensate caregivers' time.

Extending the Veterans Choice Program helps to ensure the roughly 1.5 million veterans who benefit from Choice will continue to have an option to access quality health care closer to home from the 350,000 participating community providers.

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