Protecting our veterans' children
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Protecting our veterans' children™

Collins, Moran, McCain & Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge Improvements to Veterans Choice Program

Protecting our veterans' children

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Feb 25 2015

Washington, D.C. – In a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and John McCain (R-AZ) were joined by 39 of their colleagues in raising serious concerns about the implementation of the Veterans Choice Card program.

The program was established by Congress last year in response to the nationwide crisis of veterans’ access to care but has yet to be implemented as Congress envisioned. The program allows veterans who live more than 40 miles from the closest VA facility, or who face a significant delay in scheduling an appointment, to access non-VA care.

“The VA is construing the eligibility criteria as it relates to the 40-mile rule so narrowly that it is excluding too many who are far away from the care that they need,” wrote the Senators. In addition, the Administration has said that it plans to propose reallocating funds for the Veterans Choice Program to other VA accounts.

The Senators urged Secretary McDonald to make certain that funding provided by Congress is being used to implement the Veterans Choice Program to the fullest extent possible.

The letter is signed by Senators Collins (R-ME), Moran (R-KS), McCain (R-AZ), King (I-ME), Grassley (R-IA), Markey (D-MA), Ernst (R-IA), Vitter (R-LA), Manchin (D-WV), Fischer (R-NE), Klobuchar (D-MN), Flake (R-AZ), Warner (D-VA), Crapo (R-ID), Wyden (D-OR), Hatch (R-UT), Boxer (D-CA), Roberts (R-KS), Kaine (D-VA), Barrasso (R-WY), Brown (D-OH), Enzi (R-WY), Heitkamp (D-ND), Rubio (R-FL), Cardin (D-MD), Tillis (R-NC), Mikulski (D-MD), Toomey (R-PA), Heinrich (D-NM), Capito (R-WV), Daines (R-MT), Inhofe (R-OK), Burr (R-NC), Alexander (R-TN), Thune (R-SD), Cotton (R-AR), Hoeven (R-ND), Cruz (R-TX), Merkley (D-OR), Kirk (R-IL), McCaskill (D-MO), and Scott (R-SC).

View full text of letter, OPEN PDF.

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Legacy of Our Veterans' Military Exposures
Widow of a Vietnam veteran exposed to Agent Orange and founder of Agent Orange Legacy.
  1. Michael J. Dalton Reply

    Why in the world dose the AIR FORCE CALL,PTSD A PERSONNEL DISORDER, IT SOUNDS LIKE ITS ALL YOUR , AND NOT THEM, I WAS JUST 19 YEARS,OLD,WHEN I JOIND THE USAF,OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL
    I JOINED IN 1971 DURING THE VIETNAM ERA, I WOULD HAVE BEEN DRAFITED IF I DID NOT JOIN. SO,INSTEAD OF BEING DRAFTED INTO THE ARMY OR THR USMC
    SO I JOINED THE USAF, FROM BASE TRANING IN SAN ANTONIO TX, I WENT TO FUEL SPECALIST SCHOOL IN IL AT CHAHUNT AFB, AFTER MY TRAINING. I THEN WENT OVER TO SOUTH EAST ASIAN
    IN TAWIAN A BASE THAT WAS TDY BASE
    TO NAM AND THAILAND, THE UNIT WAS 374TH COMBAT SUPPORT OPERATION, C130 ,C123,KC 135 BRINGBRIN MEDICAL SUPPLYS TO NAM AND RELIEF TO AIRMEN THAT HAD BEEN STATIONED IN VIETNAM AND THAILAND. I WILL NOT GO INTO ALL OF WHAT HAPPEN OVER IN SOUTH EAST ASIAN, BUT HAVE SEE DOCTOR’S AND PYHCATREST FOR 20 YEARS AND BEFOR THAT PREAST, I AM 62 AND HAVE HAD THE HELPLESS FELLING OF SOMEONE WAYS OUT TO GET,ME, WHAT CAN I DO ? I have all my medical recorders from the USAF,AND WOULD,LIKE TO GET HELP FOR PTSD

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      LOVME Reply

      Thanks for your comment Michael. You should apply for benefits. You should contact a Veteran’s Service Officer at your nearest American Legion to get the process started. You are welcome to join our closed support group on facebook at this link>>>https://www.facebook.com/groups/aolivingwithagentorange/. You also are eligible to seek assistance at your nearest location. Here is a link to assist you in finding nearest Vet center>>>http://www.va.gov/directory/guide/vetcenter.asp.

  2. Michael Stultz Reply

    The Choice Card is a JOKE! (On the 40 mile thing!) I live more than 80 miles from a VA hospital! I tried to get mine approved, but I didn’t get approved because there is a VA clinic about 20 miles from me. At the clinics, all they can do is give flu shot, do blood work, and get you an appointment at the VA hospital in Columbia Mo., (WHICH is more than 80 miles away!) They just don’t do very much at the clinics! The clinics are not open all the time either! I had to get an appointment to get into the clinic,(wait time), that was a little over a week! To get an appointment at the VA hospital! (WATCH THIS!), The appointment was put in on Dec. 23rd of 2014, I received an appointment for Feb.2,2015! THAT IS 40 DAYS! (Another one of the qualifications, if you have to wait more than 30 days you can go to a local Dr./Hospital) DIDN’T HAPPEN! JUST another way to break their promises! They set up all this red tape just to look good, BUT YOU CAN’T USE IT! The longer it takes the harder it is on the VETS! I AM STILL IN MUCH PAIN! Wait, Wait, Wait! It has been over a year, trying to find out what is wrong with my stomach and lower GI! THE CHOICE CARD IS A JOKE! I have other Vet friends and family, this also happened to them to! I have sent letters to some senators, congressmen/congresswomen, and I haven’t heard anything back from either!?!?! I think they are good at, talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk!

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      LOVME Reply

      I cared for my husband for 6 years prior to his death in 2005. I dealt with the VA throughout his illness. I guess Congress doesn’t seem to understand that the problem is not resolved by passing a new law. I fear things will not improve anytime soon.

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