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March 2020

VA Making Adjustments to MISSION Act

VA Making Adjustments to MISSION Act During COVID-19 Pandemic: VA is not pausing the MISSION Act. The department is ensuring the best medical interests of veterans are met by adhering to the law in a manner that takes into account whether referrals for community care are clinically appropriate during the COVID-19 outbreak. VA is taking the following steps in order to ensure the safety of veterans as they access care:

--VA community care referrals for emergent or urgent clinical needs will continue as necessary.

--Veterans with care currently scheduled in the community should continue with this care as clinically appropriate and if available.

-- Referral requests for non-emergent care with community providers will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for immediate clinical need and with regard to the safety of the veteran when being seen in-person, regardless of wait time or drive time eligibility.

-- VA is expanding the use of c telehealth and telephone sessions to address many of veterans routine medical needs.

“We understand the need for community providers to halt in-person, non-emergent care to veterans, and all patients for that matter, in order to lessen the curve of this virus sweeping our nation,” said VFW Washington Office Executive Director B.J. Lawrence. “Many private health care providers around the country are being forced to make similar difficult decisions, but ultimately decisions that keep the overall safety of all patients in mind. Vigilance is required in slowing this coronavirus pandemic. The Department of Veterans Affairs is taking the correct approach in handling this matter but it remains vital that many of our veterans are able to still receive the care they require. Telehealth and telephonic medical sessions are good adjustments to current conditions but VA must make accommodations for veterans who are unable to access these means of care.”

Current and Furture (VA Mission Act).jpg

Overarching Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Q1. What is the VA MISSION Act?

A1. The VA MISSION Act is legislation passed by Congress and signed into law on June 6, 2018. Through this VA will need to make changes in several key areas including:
• Streamlining and Improving Community Care,
• Establishing a new Urgent Care benefit,
• Expanding Caregivers Eligibility,
• Strengthening VA’s Workforce,
• and Strengthening VA’s Infrastructure. Through the MISSION Act, VA has additional opportunities to enhance our high-quality health care to our nation’s Veterans.


Q2: What does the MISSION acronym stand for?


A2: Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION).


Q3. Is the MISSION Act about privatizing Veterans’ health care?

A3. No, it’s not about privatizing VA. The MISSION Act is designed to strengthen and improve VA’s high-quality health care system.


Q4. What does the MISSION Act encompass?


A4. The MISSION Act legislation contains more than 50 sections intended to strengthen and improve VA’s ability to deliver world-class health care. As this is complex and will take place for several years, we have a visual graphic depicting how it will work. You can find the handout at this link: If you’re interested in learning more you can read through the handout entitled MISSION ACT 101: How the law will improve VA’s ability to deliver health care to Veterans” on VA’s VAntage Point blog located at:


Q5: How will the VA MISSION Act Improve Community Care? A5: VA community care programs have grown in number and complexity through the years, making them complicated. The MISSION Act streamlines and improves VA’s community care programs, providing Veterans better customer service when receiving community care.


Q6: How will the VA MISSION Act expand Caregivers Eligibility?


A6: The VA MISSION Act expands eligibility for Veterans who have family members serve as their caregivers. Right now, the Caregiver program is only available to eligible Veterans who were injured on or after September 11, 2001. But, the expansion under the MISSION Act will open the program to eligible Veterans and their caregivers from all eras.
VA MISSION Act of 2018

Your Care is Our Mission

Q7. What are the key benefits for recruiting and retaining high quality staff under the MISSION Act?


A7. Key benefits for employees under the MISSION Act include: o Providing several options to help recruit and retain employees through an expanded education debt reduction program,
o Improving flexibility for recruitment bonuses,
o Allowing for relocation and retention pay so we can keep high-quality medical professionals,
o Piloting a scholarship program for eligible Veterans to receive medical training in return for serving in a VA hospital or clinic for four years.


Q8: How will the VA MISSION Act strengthen VA’s Infrastructure?


A8: Many VA buildings are nearly 60 years old and half of them were built before 1920. We need ways to ensure we can keep up with the changes to technology and building improvements as we modernize our systems. That’s why the MISSION Act offers reviews and plans to help VA better manage its infrastructure.


Q9. When will the MISSION Act be implemented?

A9. VA is already developing processes for a multi-year effort, including plans to keep all of us informed each step of the way. We are excited to improve access to VA’s high-quality care and reaffirm our commitment to America’s Veterans.


Q10. How will the MISSION Act benefit Veterans?


A10. The MISSION Act empowers Veterans and enhances care options. VA will: • Continue to be a trusted, caring partner • Meet Veterans where they are, with the right care at the right place and the right time • Provide telehealth in their home, in a VA facility, or in the community • Focus on providing an excellent experience for Veterans and their families.


Q11. How will the MISSION Act benefit VA staff members?


A11. The MISSION Act empowers employees and strengthens VA care nationwide. The MISSION Act: • Improves ways to hire staff and keep staff onboard • Creates “Anywhere to Anywhere” telehealth linking Veterans with their care teams across state lines • Allows VA to lead with cutting-edge technology • Strengthens VA as a leader for U.S. health care


Q12. Where can I find the full text of the MISSION Act?


A12. You can read the MISSION Act online at this link:


Q13. How can I find out more about the MISSION Act?


A13. [External – Public] You can learn more about the MISSION Act by visiting the website at:

Veteran Community Care – Eligibility VA MISSION Act of 2018

Enhanced VA Options under the MISSION Act - Web-Based Final

Enhanced VA Options Under the MISSION Act:


Veteran Community Care • General Information

MISSION Act Educational Initiatives

MISSION Act Urgent Care Information

Emergency Transportation Ambulance Fact Sheet

Emergency Care Fact Sheet

Trump Administration Plots Costly Private-Care Expansion for Veterans


The plan sets up a clash with Democrats, who say the administration is thwarting congressional intent and will starve the VA health system to pay for private care.

by Isaac Arnsdorf

Nov. 15, 2018, 10:32 a.m. EST

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