Tired of waiting months to see a VA doctor? Don’t want to drive an hour to your nearest VA facility for doctor appointments? The VA Mission Act solves all that! Under the Mission Act, you have more ways to access health care than your typical VA may provide. This includes within the VA’s network and through approved non-VA medical providers in your community, called ‘community care providers’. Depending on your situation – for example, if a certain type of health service isn’t provided by the VA – you may be able to go to a non-VA provider using your VA coverage. This program not only covers disabled veterans and retired veterans who would have access to care at a VA facility but also for VA caregivers assigned to take care of disabled veterans. To get started there are a few things to navigate. To qualify for this program your VA must either not have facilities to provide service for they health care you are desiring, your don’t have a VA facility within a certain mileage from your home, or the VA is unable to give you timely care meaning they are booked out for over 30 days. If any of these applies to you, you can request community care and in some cases even if you don’t meet those requirements they may allow you to use community care due to conflicts with the health care staff at your VA facility or personal preference. In order to use community care and have it covered under the Mission Act you have to jump through a few hoops. First you want to request community care referral through your VA facility and what services you are requesting for be it specialty care, general medical coverage, or mental health. Once you get a referral, you will receive a letter in the mail with your referral number and what insurance group will be covering your community care. It is recommended you reach out to the insurance provider directly after that and coordinate with them regarding what doctor’s you wish to see. If you do not have a specific doctor in mind they can assign you one based on who is in their network close to you. Just because the doctor you want to see is not in their network does not mean you can’t get the care covered, but your doctor will have to go through a vetting process to get into the system and be paid. The insurance company will set up your first appointment and set parameters on visits allowed in set times, after the initial appointment you can make the follow-ups on your own. The medical providers bill the insurance under your referral number and the VA pays for the services. Contact your local VA to find out more information on the Mission Act options available to you and take advantage of all the options for community care offered!