Senate Passes Stabenow Legislation to Improve Veterans Choice Program

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced that legislation she authored to improve veterans’ health care by requiring prompt payment to Veterans Choice Program providers passed the Senate as part of the VA Mission Act. The bill now heads to the President’s desk for signature. Passage of this legislation is one of Stabenow’s latest actions to improve care, which also include championing efforts to open new and expanded VA clinics across Michigan and expanding health services for service members and veterans.


“The Veterans Choice program was designed to make sure veterans can receive services close to home in a timely way but it has failed many of those it was intended to serve,” said Senator Stabenow. “We are taking an important step today to reform the Choice Program and improve care for our men and women who have served.”


“Munson Healthcare is committed to serving the healthcare needs of the veterans in our region,” said Edwin A. Ness, President and CEO, Munson Healthcare. “Unfortunately, unlike other veteran programs, the Veterans Choice Program has resulted in confusion for veterans and significant non-payment for healthcare providers. Therefore, we are pleased to see Senator Stabenow’s Veterans Deserve Better Act language included in The Mission Act that we hope will improve access to care for veterans while also holding private contractors accountable for prompt payments to providers.”


The VA Mission Act includes a key provision from Stabenow’s Veterans Deserve Better Act, which required the VA to pay providers within 30 days of receiving an electronic claim or 45 days of receiving a paper claim. This will ensure that rural hospitals and providers are reimbursed for services so that they can continue to see patients.


Stabenow has been holding a series of roundtable discussions with veterans and service providers across Michigan to get their input on how programs serving veterans are working and provide an update on her latest work to support veterans and their families. Stabenow has met with veterans in Iron Mountain, Traverse City, Muskegon, Benton Harbor, Saginaw, Detroit, Berkley, Swartz Creek, Lansing, Warren, and Taylor.