Isakson: VA MISSION Act is Putting Veterans First

Applauds implementation of community care provisions in landmark VA MISSION Act

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, applauded the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) implementation today of the new, streamlined Veterans Community Care Program designed to improve the way the VA delivers health care.

The community care program, which was established in the VA MISSION Act, landmark legislation authored by Isakson and signed into law in 2018, will remove bureaucratic obstacles to care in the community and ensure veterans receive efficient, timely and quality care.

“I commend the VA for implementing the Veterans Community Care Program in a timely manner so veterans can benefit from increased options for care just one year after the VA MISSION Act was signed into law,” said Isakson. “The comprehensive VA MISSION Act  is a product of Congress working together with both the VA and veterans. This legislation fundamentally changes VA health care for the better so timely care to a veteran is the primary focus. I’m committed to working with the VA in the days and months ahead to ensure it is a success.”

The VA MISSION Act established new eligibility criteria for veterans to receive care in the community and instructed the secretary of the VA to determine access standards for veterans seeking care within the VA. If the VA is unable to meet certain wait-time and drive-time standards or if veterans meet other eligibility criteria, they are given the option to receive care in the community.

In anticipation of today’s implementation, the VA has spent months training employees across the country about the new eligibility requirements associated with the Veterans Community Care Program. The VA has also worked to educate veterans about their enhanced options under the VA MISSION Act with mailings and a new website that details all health care options available for veterans through the VA.

Isakson emphasized that the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is eager to assist the VA throughout the entire implementation process to ensure the reformed community care program is a success from day one.

“We set out in the VA MISSION Act to make it easier for veterans to get the care they need in a timely manner,” said Isakson. “Everyone wants this to be a success, and we’re going to make sure the VA has all of the tools and resources it needs to provide quality care to our veterans.”

A one-page summary of the legislation is available here, and a section-by-section summary is available here.

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The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 116th Congress. Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the armed services as well as nearly 700,000 veterans.