ISHPEMING — When the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act was signed into law last year it gave way to the Veterans Choice Program.

But what the program is and how it works could be confusing for some. If you find yourself asking questions there is a time and a place to voice them.

The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center will be hosting two town hall meetings in Marquette County in March.

It’s been holding meetings for almost three years to good response.

“We get a very good balance of both concerns and comments that are positive too, so we know what we’re doing well and what we can improve on,” said Brad Nelson, Public Affairs Officer at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center.

The Veterans Choice Program, simply put, allows VA enrolled veterans to receive non–VA healthcare. However, there are two primary criteria that must be met to take advantage of the program.

“If they live more than 40 miles, and as the law is written it’s as the crow flies, a straight line distance, from the nearest VA medical facility,” Nelson said. “That’s regardless if the facility provides that care or not. The second criteria is if their appointment that either their doctor says, ‘I want to see you on a certain day,’ or if they want to be seen on a certain date, the veteran, if it’s more than 30 days from that date they can also use the choice card for going to a non-VA provider.”

In order to use the program enrolled veterans must call the number printed on their choice card to gain authorization.

The Veterans Choice Program and more will be discussed March 12th at both town hall meetings.

The first is at the National Guard Armory in Ishpeming at 1 p.m., with the second to follow in NMU’s Jamrich Hall at 4 p.m.