A mountain of debt and a multitude of debt collection problems became an unintended consequence of the new VA Choice Act Program for veterans.
Veterans’ healthcare has been in need of an overhaul for some time, now. Recently, as a result, Congress allocated in the 2016 budget, an amount of money in the neighborhood of $169 billion to the Veterans’ Administration, of which $15 billion of that was to be reallocated to the Veterans’ Choice Act to take care of all the veteran healthcare problems that have been prevalent as of late.
The Veterans’ Choice Program Added Another Wrinkle to an Already Broken System
The Veterans’ Choice Program that was created to help veterans obtain much need healthcare has, in and of itself, created another problem that the veterans did not have previously; a mountain of debt as a result of the slow payments or no payments to private healthcare providers who had provided treatment and medical services to the veteran with the promise that the Veterans’ Administration would pay the bill.
The Choice Act Program has had its problems from its inception, and is now coming under fire from veterans, veteran advocate groups, as well as Congress for its gross mismanagement and mishandling of veterans’ healthcare issues.
The Veterans’ Choice Program was designed to “fix” the issues with veterans’ healthcare stemming back to reports of long wait times for medical appointments and, in some cases, veterans were dying from their ailments while they waited for these appointments. Under the Choice Program, veterans were allowed to go to their community healthcare facilities and be seen by private physicians. The VA, through the Choice Program, was to pay the physicians directly under this program. However, it was not long before it was apparent that the systemic problems veterans were having with the VA were redirected to the Choice Program. Veterans were having problems getting their medical treatments approved by Choice, and even after the treatments were approved, Choice was slow to pay the private physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers, and was in some instances not paying them at all. As a result, the private physicians were billing the veterans directly for any treatment they received and in some instances, sending the veterans’ accounts to collection for non-payment.
The Newest Program on the Block: Choice Hotline Community Care Call Centers
Efforts are being made to eliminate these debt issue problems as soon as possible. Now, veterans having debt and collection issues as a result of Choice Program billing problems will be allowed to contact the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs directly to resolve these problems. This new program will eliminate the “third party” bureaucratic red tape layer veterans were having to sift through in order to get to the department that had the authority to authorize healthcare payments.
This program will set up Choice Hotline Care Call Centers in the communities that will work with veterans who are having billing and credit collection issues, as well as the community healthcare providers who are having problems getting paid. Also available with this new program will be assistance for veterans who have had their credit ruined as a result of adverse credit reporting and debt collection instigated by their healthcare providers for non-payment of healthcare bills. Read this interesting article in The Daily News for more information on this story.
Contact Your Attorney for Answer to Questions Regarding Your VA Benefits
If you are a disabled veteran or servicemember needing assistance in understanding what disability benefits you are entitled to, contact J. Robert Surface Attorney at Law. Mr. Surface is an experienced veterans’ disability attorney in Greenville who will advocate on your behalf to help you recover the veterans’ benefits you deserve.