VFW Says VA Choice Program Shows Improvement, But More Work Needed

The Department of Veterans Affairs has made some improvements in serving veterans through the Veterans Choice Program but still has work to do, Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander John W. Stroud said on Monday.

Stroud’s comment was included with the release of the VFW’s latest survey on the choice program, which found that veteran awareness of the program is growing.

VFW Senior Legislative Associate Carlos Fuentes said the number of veterans eligible for the program grew after the VA modified how it determines the required 40-mile distance between a veteran’s residence and a VA facility.

Originally, it was measured “as the crow flies” – a straight line that did not take into consideration how far a veteran actually would have to drive to reach a VA facility. These “40-milers” in remote or rural areas may have to drive a greater distance to reach a facility that, on a map, is much closer.

That change, expected to make an additional 300,000 veterans eligible for the Choice Program, was announced on March 24 and went into effect on April 24. The latest survey covered the period Feb. 6 to April 6.

“I think it would be higher now because a lot of the 40-miler folks who thought they were not eligible [because of the earlier rule] would be now,” Fuentes said.

The survey findings are based on 2,155 responses to a VFW survey of members as well as an apportionment of more than 5,000 direct phone and e-mail contacts with VFW national offices.

Read the rest of the full story at — http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/05/12/vfw-says-va-choice-program-shows-improvement-but-more-work.html

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