Johnson City, TN (WJHL) — The way many veterans get their care through the Veterans Affairs medical system will continue “as is” for the next several months.
Today, the House of Representatives voted to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to operate is Choice program until funding runs out.
That’s likely to happen next year.
Without today’s vote, the program would have expired in August.
The Choice program was created to reduce wait time for veterans seeking care.
But last summer, a News Channel 11 investigation found wait times actually increased for some patients, depending on the type of care it needed.
Administrators at the VA Mountain Home Medical Center blamed the company hired by Congress to make appointments for veterans who needed care outside the V-A system.
The new Secretary of the VA David Shulkin has said the Choice program needs to continue while the government comes up with a way to reform veterans’ health services.
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Johnson City) who is Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee praised the passage of The Veterans Choice Program Improvement Act which eliminated the sunset date on the Choice Program.
“By eliminating the sunset date of the Choice Act, Congress is ensuring veterans have certainty and continuity of care while we work with the Trump administration to develop a strategic plan that addresses the need for a veteran-centric, coordinated network of care that utilizes the strengths of both VA and community health providers,” Roe said. “I am proud of the bipartisan, bicameral support for this effort and look forward to seeing President Trump sign this important bill into law.”
The U.S. Senate passed a version of the same legislation earlier in the week.Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.