WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) released the following statement after introducing legislation that would allow veterans age 75 and older to take advantage of the VA Choice Program and seek quality health care closer to home:
“No veteran should have to travel far from home to receive quality care—especially those over 75 who might not have the same flexibility to get to the doctor. By expanding the Veterans Affairs Choice Program, more veterans will have access to timely health care options without having to travel far. The VA’s first priority should always be the veteran and how to best serve them—this bill better serves them.”
Dr. Cassidy was first inspired to introduce the legislation after hearing personal stories from veterans across Louisiana who had problems accessing convenient care. In one instance, a 90-year-old veteran had to be driven from Lafayette, Louisiana to Alexandria, Louisiana for a 15 minute checkup by his son, who had to take off a whole day of work to provide his father’s transportation to the appointment.
To qualify for the current VA Choice Program, veterans must live more than 40 miles from a VA medical care facility and have been waiting for VA medical care for a minimum of 30 days. Prior to the program’s implementation in 2014, veterans reported having to commute over 400 miles roundtrip just to receive basic VA medical treatment. Dr. Cassidy’s legislation would expand the program to include seniors, making them eligible to receive care in their community without meeting the current requirements.
Read the legislation here.