Posted on June 6, 2018
WASHINGTON, June 6, 2018 — U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said President Trump signed into law a bill he supported that will help veterans in Tennessee find health care closer to home, among many other benefits.
Veterans in Tennessee will now have the ability to seek medical care outside the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regardless if they are able to get into a VA facility within 30 days or live more than 40 miles away from a VA health care facility.
“Today is a great day for veterans in Tennessee and across our country,” Alexander said. “Under this new law, veterans will have more health care options closer to home. I applaud President Trump for signing this critical legislation into law and thank Chairman Phil Roe for his continued work on behalf of our nation’s veterans. His leadership was truly instrumental in getting this bill to the president’s desk.”
The John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka, and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act passed the Senate by a vote of 92-5 and passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 347-70. In addition, 38 veteran and military advocacy groups wrote a letter to both chambers of Congress in support of the bill.
The new law:
- Provides $5.2 billion for the Veterans Choice Fund.
- Ends the arbitrary “30/day, 40-mile rule” that prevented veterans from seeking medical care outside the VA if they were able to get into a VA facility within 30 days or lived within 40 miles of a VA health care facility.
- Expands the VA Caregiver Program to pre-9/11 veterans and their families.
- Creates a new system of community care, enabling veterans to have access to walk-in community clinics outside the VA system.
- Incentivizes the use of telemedicine to help treat veterans.
- Modernizes VA facilities and provides additional resources for the hiring of new doctors, nurses and staff.
Tennessee veterans can find resources here.