Details for new changes with the Veterans Choice Program

A press conference was held earlier today at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center to provide an update on the Veterans Choice Program and the recent changes that were made over the weekend.

The program gives veterans who choose to participate in it a way to get care outside of the VA. The recent changes were made to provide more options, increase accessibility, and eliminate burdens for veterans to get VA care.

“If we don’t have the care here to provide like specialty care,” said Lead Choice Champion Nicole Kleist, “we don’t offer some of that here. Or if we can’t provide the service within 30 days or a veteran lives more than 40 miles driving from the nearest VA or their community based outpatient clinic.”

Before Friday, the law required that veterans must be enrolled in VA health care by August first. Congress and President Obama signed a change that eliminates this requirement so all veterans will receive a Veterans Choice Card in the near future. All veterans are recommended to make a call to ensure their eligibility for the program.

“Veterans really need to call the 1–866 choice number to get the care authorized and to have it scheduled through choice,” added Kleist.

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About the Author

Caleb Scanlon
Caleb M. Scanlon is a reporter for ABC 10 / CW 5 and joined the news team in 2015. He grew up in Negaunee, where he attended Negaunee High School. Caleb completed his Bachelor's degree in Media Production and New Technologies from Northern Michigan University with a minor in Communication Studies. Caleb interned with ABC 10 / CW 5 in the fall of 2014. During his free time, Caleb enjoys spending time with his wife Samantha, his kids Fred and Lucy, and his cats Scotty, Remus, and Fitzgerald. Caleb plays a multitude of musical instruments and performs in a band called Concord Through Keys. When there isn't snow on the ground, Caleb can often be found at Al-Quaal playing disc golf.