(Great Falls, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is using his role as Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to make sure that the VA meets the health care needs of Montana veterans as it implements his landmark VA MISSION Act.
Tester today held a meeting with veterans in Great Falls to discuss the timeline of the recently passed legislation, one of 16 of Tester’s bills that President Trump has signed into law.
Tester wrote the VA MISSION Act with Republican Chairman Johnny Isakson of Georgia and President Trump signed it into law June 6.
Now Tester is making sure Montana veterans have their voices heard as the VA crafts the law’s new Veterans Community Care Program.
“The VA has a year to stand up the new community care program and has to report to us about its progress,” said Tester, who noted that the law will take a year to go into effect. “During this process, I’ll keep Montana veterans updated on how the VA is doing and give them an opportunity to weigh in on where it needs to do better. Together we can hold the VA accountable and deliver Montana veterans a health care system worthy of their service.”
The VA is required to report to Congress on its progress in implementing the VA MISSION Act before the program goes “live” in June 2019. During that time, veterans and community providers will be able to weigh in on what they need and what hasn’t worked with VA community care programs in the past.
Until the new Veterans Community Care Program is up and running, Tester made sure that veterans’ access to care isn’t disrupted by continuing funding for the VA’s current community care programs. When writing the law, Tester made sure that the VA is required to create an education program for veterans about their new health care options before they see any changes in their VA health care.
Tester’ VA MISSION Act scraps the Choice Program and puts the veteran and their VA doctor at the center of the decision of where a veteran will go for their health care. It strengthens veterans’ access to care at the VA by addressing crippling VA workforce shortages and deploying mobile teams to rural or underserved areas. Tester’s VA MISSION Act also expands the VA Caregiver Support Program to veterans of all eras.