For Doctors And Patients, ‘Veterans Choice’ Often Means Long Waits

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By npr.org

When clinical psychiatrist Cher Morrow-Bradley and other health care providers call the Veterans Choice program, they are greeted with a recorded, 90-second “thank you” from Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald.

It’s not having the intended effect.

“Why don’t you make this easier? The process is so cumbersome, and I have to listen to you thanking me for spending all this time and then I get put on hold,” says Morrow-Bradley, adding that she hasn’t figured out how to skip the message.

She and many others say this is emblematic of the Veterans Choice program that was intended to quickly work through the backlog of vets waiting for medical care. Anyone more than 40 miles from a Veterans Affairs facility or waiting more than 30 days for an appointment could go get private care outside the VA system.

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