Arizona Congressional Delegation Urges Extension Of Veteran Choice Program

Press Release

U.S. Representatives Trent Franks (R-AZ), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Martha McSally (R-AZ), David Schweikert (R-AZ) and Matt Salmon (R-AZ) joined together in expressing their support for the Care Veterans Deserve Act, companion legislation to a bill championed by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in the Senate. The bill ensures that the Veteran Choice Program continues next year and expands access to care at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) while enhancing choice and flexibility in veterans' health care.

"We are proud to support this important legislation to help ensure our veterans have access to the care they have earned," the lawmakers said in a joint statement. "Too many of our war heroes have suffered because of VA mismanagement and corruption. We must work to improve the Veterans Choice Program and the way in which it is funded; failure to expand this crucial program would be a step backwards in the progress we've made towards access to timely health care for veterans. We applaud Senator McCain for his leadership and commitment to our veterans and will continue to work with him to extend this worthwhile program."

The Care Veterans Deserve Act would address a major complaint by today's veterans of never-ending wait-times for appointments by allowing all disabled veterans to have access to the Veteran Choice Card. The bill would also require the VA to extend pharmacy hours to nights and weekends, and open VA hospitals to volunteer community providers interested in seeing veterans during their off-hours. The bill enables veterans to visit walk-in clinics without needing to undergo preauthorization from the VA or provide copayment.

Since its enactment in 2014, the Veteran Choice Program has provided veterans in Arizona and across the country with flexibility to visit a doctor of their choice in their communities:

To date, five million appointments have been made by more than one million veterans using the Veteran Choice Card.

The Veteran Choice Program has more than doubled the number of medical providers nationwide who treat veterans. Today, there are an additional 350,000 doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants available to treat veterans.

In Arizona, 11,700 medical providers in veteran communities have treated 74,000 veterans.

235,000 appointments per month have been made with the Veteran Choice Card -- more than 10,000 per workday.

The Veteran Choice Card is being used at 700 hospitals and nearly 10,000 clinics nationwide.