President Donald Trump on June 6 signed a bill into law that makes it possible for veterans to see a private doctor if Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals are unable to provide the care or services a veteran requires.
Situations covered under the VA Mission Act of 2018, which grants veterans access to private care, include situations in which the VA does not offer the care a veteran needs, the distance to a VA clinic is too far, or private care is in the best medical interest of the veteran.
“Those who serve our nation, who risk life and limb for country … must never be denied care, access, or treatment that they need. That is why we are here today, and that is why we are signing this most important bill,” Trump said.
“If the VA can’t meet the needs of a veteran in a timely manner, that veteran will have the right to go right outside to a private doctor. … Because no matter where you served or when you fought, if you were in uniform … then you deserve our absolute best.”
As part of the bill, the VA is required to establish and monitor the care veterans will receive in the private sector. The care will be judged by its timeliness, effectiveness, safety, and efficiency.
For years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been plagued by concerns over inadequate and slow care for veterans.
Last year, Trump signed into law the VA Accountability First Act, making it easier for VA employees to be fired if they provide inadequate care.
That act also made it easier for whistleblowers to step forward.