President Trump has signed an emergency spending bill to continue funding a program that gives eligible veterans the option to receive care from private doctors rather than a VA medical facility.
The bipartisan legislation the president signed on Saturday provides more than $2 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the Veterans Choice Program (VCP). This funding will extend the program for six months.
The VCP was created in 2014 following outrage over extremely long wait times and falsified records designed to cover up the length of time it took to get an appointment.
Under the VCP, eligible veterans can receive care from a community provider instead of waiting for an appointment at a VA facility. To be eligible, veterans need to be enrolled in VA health care and meet at least one of several criteria, such as being told there is a wait of more than 30 days for an appointment at a VA facility or living more than 40 miles away from the nearest such center with a full-time primary care physician.
The legislation the president signed also provides $1.8 billion in funding for core VA operations, including leases for 28 new VA medical facilities and incentives for former VA employees to return after having worked in the private sector.
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