Daines: VA Reforms are Welcome First Step in Ensuring Veterans Receive Needed Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Steve Daines today commended the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for addressing Montana veterans’ long standing concerns and taking steps to ensure veterans are able to receive health care services close to home. 

The VA announced today that it is reforming its calculation used to determine distance between a veteran’s residence and the nearest VA health facility when allowing veterans who live more than 40-miles from a VA facility to receive care closer to home. 

Daines called the reform “an important step forward,” while also reiterating his call to address a loophole that prevents some veterans from receiving specialized care at nearby community facilities. 

“Our veterans deserve the utmost respect and best care that our country can offer. I’m glad the VA is taking an important step forward to better serve all of our nation’s veterans,” Daines stated. “Our veterans’ ability to receive the care they need should not be contingent on where they choose to live. While this reform is certainly welcome news, the VA still has a long way to go to ensure that our veterans have access to the care they need — especially specialized health services. I will continue fighting to ensure that all our veterans receive the support and care they have earned and well deserve.”

The new VA policy does not address veterans who live within 40-miles of a VA health facility but need specialized care not offered at facilities within the 40-mile radius.

Daines has long called for reforms to ensure that the VA more efficiently and effectively meets Montana veterans’ health care needs. Earlier this year, Daines cosponsored S.207, the Veterans Access to Community Care Act of 2015, which allows veterans access to community health care providers if the veteran lives more than 40-miles driving distance from the closest VA medical facility that could provide the specialized services the veteran needs.

In the House, Daines successfully worked to pass multiple pieces of legislation including H.R. 4810, the Veterans Access to Care Act, which would require the VA to offer non-VA care at the Department’s expense to any enrolled veteran who cannot get an appointment within the VA wait time goals or who lives more than 40-miles away from a VA medical facility.