In recent news, the VA Mission Act of 2018 has been signed into law. There have been several questions surrounding this law that should be addressed. To understand what the law will do and how it will impact others, it is important to understand what the VA Mission Act is. On June 6th, 2018, President Trump signed the act into law. According to militarybenefits.info, the new law is “designed to greatly improve veteran access to VA healthcare… The VA Mission Act addresses in-network and non-VA healthcare issues, veterans’ homes, access to walk-in VA care, prescription drug procedures, and much more.”

 

To know what impact this law has, one must explore the multiple components of the text and each one’s intended purpose. The Act is broken down into five parts:

 

  • Title I – the Caring For Our Veterans Act of 2018
  • Title II – the VA Asset and Infrastructure (AIR) Review Act
  • Title III – Improvements to Recruitment of Health Care Professionals
  • Title IV – Health Care in Underserved Areas
  • Title V – Other Matters

 

There are sixty-three sections under this first title and they all focus on the health care that veterans have access to. Originally, veterans would have to wait until a VA health care provider would be available and drive to the location to receive care. This first title aims to remove those limitations by having the VA coordinate the veterans’ care and required to “ensure the scheduling of medical appointments in a timely manner,” “ensure continuity of care and services,” “coordinate coverage for veterans who utilize care outside of a region from where they reside,” and “ensure veterans do not experience a lapse in health care services.”

 

There are only eleven sections under the second title and their focus is to create and Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission in addition to providing a general plan to accomplish everything that Title I aims to complete. In section 202, the act outlines the President’s responsibilities for appointing and nominating individuals for this commission. Section 205 goes into detail about what the VA must be required to do, such as consult with governors and the heads of local governments “for the purpose of considering the continued availability of a road for public access through, into, or around a VHA facility that is to be modernized or realigned.”

 

Title III has six sections which mostly focuses on how the VA will recruit more health care professionals. Medical students that agree to work for the VA will receive scholarships and the amount of education debt that will be reduced has increased. Title IV is similar in the fact that there are only three sections and their goal is to provide the medical students with graduate educations and residencies along with addressing the problems with under-served facilities. Lastly, Title V contains eleven sections that are the small details to serve as an end cap for this act. This is where authorization of $5.2 billion will go to the Veterans Choice Fund and extend current eligibility restriction for certain recipients of a VA pension.