VA proposes Choice program overhaul that eliminates 30-day/40-mile rule

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The Department of Veterans Affairs sent a bill proposal to Congress that would overhaul how veterans receive health care in the private sector and do away with the widely criticized “30-day/40-mile” rule, the agency announced Monday.

The long-awaited proposal, titled the Veterans Coordinated Access & Rewarding Experiences Act, or CARE, promises to give veterans and their VA physicians flexibility in choosing whether they receive care at a VA facility or from a private-sector provider.

VA Secretary David Shulkin announced in February -- during his first public address as secretary – that he intended to do away with the rule that allows veterans to go outside the VA for health care only if they had to wait more than 30 days for an appointment or if they live more than 40 miles driving distance from a VA facility. The rule, implemented as part of the Veterans Choice Program in 2014, has been criticized by veterans as complex, bureaucratic and restrictive.  VA proposes Choice program 

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