U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie is asking Congress to pass a series of reforms, including the Choice Program, after the lawmakers did not do so last month.
In a statement, Wilkie wrote that the VA and Congress need to overhaul the VA Choice Program to combat wait times of more than 30 days for some VA health centers or for veterans who need to travel more than 40 miles to see a VA doctor.
“It’s time to fix the Choice Program – as well as the department’s other non-VA care efforts – once and for all by merging them into a single, streamlined community care program that’s easy to use for Veterans and VA employees,” Wilkie wrote.
That change would require technologies to enable greater interoperability with providers outside the VA.
Along with a Choice Program overhaul, these reforms also would extend veteran caregiver benefits and reviewed the VA’s infrastructure to find and remove aging or underused facilities.
On Monday, Wilkie also told House and Senate veterans affairs committee members that he supported the package of reforms attached to bill HR 1625, which would have provided