One of the things that NAMI Montana is especially excited about in this bill is that it sets the for community care as the Medicare rate, but it authorizes the VA to pay higher rates in rural areas. This overcomes the real world challenge that happens often in the medical system of having a patient population that needs care, but having a payment reimbursement rate that is so low that the medical providers cannot pay to see them. The VA MISSION Act is a real step forward in the VA’s ability to provide healthcare to veterans whose circumstances prevent them from receiving care at VA facilities.”
Here are some of the specifics of the bill:
Reforms Community Health Care
- Scraps the beleaguered Choice Program.
- Establishes one community care program that allows veterans and their doctors to choose where to get health care.
- Streamlines the process for veterans to access community providers.
- Creates new standards for faster reimbursements to private providers who care for veterans.
- Requires stronger accountability and transparency to ensure government contractors that administer the VA’s community care are meeting the terms of their contractual requirements.
- Strengthens safety measures and guidelines for private providers to prescribe opioids to veterans.
Strengthens VA Health Care
- Provides greater recruitment, retention and relocation incentives so that the VA can attract and maintain high-quality providers.
- Increases the amount the VA will reimburse medical professionals for education debt reduction.
- Removes barriers for veterans to access telehealth care, including mental health, closer to home.
- Incentivizes medical residents and providers to work at rural, tribal and underserved VA facilities.
- Develops criteria to identify underserved medical facilities and incentivize medical professionals to complete their residencies in rural areas.
- Establishes mobile deployment teams to provide additional care at the highest-need VA facilities.
- Recruits medical scribes to assist physicians so that doctors can focus on serving veterans, and not filling out paperwork.
Expands Caregiver Benefits
- Expands eligibility for VA caregiver support services to veterans of all eras, and modernizes and strengthens support services.