June 6 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a new veterans healthcare program — the VA Mission Act.
The law, passed by Congress last month, will replace the Veterans Choice Program, which was disparaged in a report Monday by the Government Accountability Office.
The new legislation aims to streamline the VA’s duplicating community care programs into a single program. It also will create a process for reviewing VA assets to ensure care to veterans and expand the department’s Post-9/11 Caregiver Program.
“Because no matter where you served or when you fought, if you were in uniform, at some point if you wore that uniform then you deserve our absolute best, and that is what we are doing,” Trump said at the signing ceremony.
The GAO report was critical of the Choice Program it says was hurriedly installed as a response to a scandal involving long wait times VA facilities. It allows patients to receive non-VA healthcare in some cases.
The GAO cited complex referral and appointment scheduling, communications issues between hospitals and Veterans Affairs and “an insufficient number, mix, or geographic distribution of community providers.”
The new law will replace the Choice Program after a one-year conversion.