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It was meant to reduce wait times, but veterans say new choice cards are causing more problems

The Washington Post: By Emily Wax-Thibodeaux: Veterans and some VA doctors say that the new “choice card” program, meant to reduce long patient wait times, is confusing and causing more stress.  The choice card issued by the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs was meant to end long wait times for veterans after last summer’s scandal revealed that those who fought for their country were dying while waiting for care.  The card gives veterans who have been waiting more than 30 days for appointments or who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility the chance to see a private doctor. But instead, some veterans say that when they attempted to use their card, the VA told them they had to live more than 40 “miles in a straight line, or as the crow flies,” from their VA rather than Google maps miles, which makes the card harder to use. Several VA doctors e-mailed The Washington Post saying they themselves don’t understand how to use the program

So far, 27,000 veterans have made appointments for private care with their cards, the VA said last week. It’s a fraction of the 9 million veterans who depend on the delay-plagued VA health-care system, the largest network of health centers and hospitals in the country.  Read full article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/02/16/it-was-meant-to-reduce-wait-times-but-veterans-say-new-choice-cards-are-causing-more-problems/?tid=hpModule_14fd66a0-9199-11e2-bdea-e32ad90da239