The Trump administration has mentioned that the Veterans Choice program will need more funds so as not to disrupt the program. This comes just a few weeks after the veterans’ health initiative was awarded an emergency fund worth $2.1 billion. The report was released by the Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday. The statement also said that the department was hoping for a proposal that will bring a long-term legislative fix. The said proposal is currently under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget. The proposal seeks more money for the Choice program to run till next year as the VA department works on implementing wider changes.
On Capitol Hill, the House Veterans Affairs Committee had predicted this scenario of the emergency fund not being enough to even last the program for the next 6 months. The emergency fund was approved in August. This has been attributed to past problems associated with the VA making wrong estimates with regards to the cost of the Choice program. The House Veterans Affairs Committee is closely monitoring the situation and so is the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
Garry Augustine, who is the Executive Director of the Disabled American Veterans' Washington headquarters, reported that despite the worrying situations earlier discussions with the VA department gave him a certain amount of confidence in the program.
The VA statement that was on The Associated Press, did not give a certain or specific date as to when the funds will totally run out, however they gave an estimate of early December or luckily till March next year. So far the VA has started to limit the number of referrals being made to private doctors as funds began to deplete. On the other hand veterans are still complaining of delays in care delivery. The long term fix proposal by the VA will be unveiled in a few weeks.
Choice currently gives veterans the privilege of accessing medical services from private health care providers only if they are forced to wait 30 or more days for an appointment in a VA facility, or if they have to drive more than 40 miles to reach the closest VA facility. So far the program has experienced a lot of challenges.