VA plan to end ru­ral pro­gram ig­nites ire

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - By Vir­gil Dick­son

Some law­mak­ers and hospi­tal lead­ers are urg­ing the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Depart­ment not to end a 3-year-old pi­lot pro­gram that gives vet­er­ans in ru­ral ar­eas ac­cess to con­tracted non-VA health­care fa­cil­i­ties.

The VA plans to shift those vet­er­ans to a dif­fer­ent pro­gram that providers say pays them less than Medi­care.

The pi­lot, known as Project Ac­cess Re­ceived Closer to Home, has been avail­able to vet­er­ans who live more than an hour’s drive from the near­est VA pri­mary-care fa­cil­ity and more than two hours’ drive from the near­est VA hospi­tal.

Project ARCH was limited to health­care sites in five states and had a 90% ap­proval rate among vet­er­ans who used it.

A VA of­fi­cial told the House Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Com­mit­tee last week that the agency likely would let the Project ARCH con­tract ex­pire on Sept. 30.

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