VA plan to end rural program ignites ire
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.