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Expanded Access to Non-VA Care Through the MISSION Act


The MISSION Act (Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act) is a legislation passed in 2018 to improve the Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system. Expanded Access to Non-VA Care refers to the provision within the MISSION Act that allows eligible veterans to receive medical care from non-VA providers. This aims to increase veterans’ access to healthcare services, particularly in cases where VA facilities are inaccessible or unavailable.

Key Takeaways

  1. The MISSION Act expands access to non-VA care for veterans by removing the previous 40-mile or 30-day waiting period criteria, thus providing timely and quality healthcare services to veterans, especially in rural areas or facing limited VA availability.
  2. Veterans can now choose from an approved network of community providers, which offers more healthcare choices and potentially shorter waiting times, empowering veterans to make healthcare decisions best suited to their needs and preferences.
  3. The MISSION Act also improves the process of sharing medical records between the VA and non-VA healthcare providers, enabling seamless coordination of care and ensuring efficient and accurate treatment for eligible veterans.


The term “Expanded Access to Non-VA Care Through the MISSION Act” is important because it reflects the commitment of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve healthcare services for veterans.

Under this act, veterans are provided with expanded access to non-VA care providers when VA facilities are not readily available or when specific services are not supplied by VA centers.

This ensures that veterans receive timely and high-quality healthcare, tailored to their individual needs and circumstances.

By offering more choices in healthcare providers, the MISSION Act also encourages competition and innovation, ultimately raising the standard of care for veterans.

Overall, the MISSION Act recognizes and values the sacrifices made by veterans and addresses their healthcare needs in a more comprehensive and accessible manner.


The MISSION Act (Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks) was established with the primary purpose of enhancing and streamlining the healthcare access and services provided to veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Expanded Access to Non-VA Care through the MISSION Act focuses on improving veterans’ access to high-quality medical services outside the VA system. This initiative is aimed at addressing the unique needs of the veteran community by offering expedited care when VA facilities may not be readily accessible, the required care is unavailable within the VA network or when the veteran may benefit from receiving care closer to home.

To achieve this, the MISSION Act makes it possible for eligible veterans to access community care providers and walk-in urgent care clinics within the VA’s network. This expanded access ensures that those who served the nation receive the care they deserve without the burden of prolonged waiting times and distant travel.

Furthermore, the MISSION Act strengthens partnerships between the VA and external healthcare providers, promoting coordination and fostering continuity of care for veterans. In essence, the Expanded Access to Non-VA Care through the MISSION Act serves as an invaluable tool in fulfilling the VA’s commitment to providing high-quality, timely, and convenient healthcare to the nation’s veterans.

Examples of Expanded Access to Non-VA Care Through the MISSION Act

The VA MISSION Act, which stands for Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act, was signed into law in June

It aims to improve the healthcare services provided to veterans by expanding their access to care from non-VA providers. Here are three real-world examples of how the MISSION Act has expanded access to non-VA care for veterans:

Community Care Network (CCN): The MISSION Act established a new Community Care Network, which consists of non-VA healthcare providers who meet specific quality standards. This network allows veterans to receive care from non-VA providers if certain criteria are met, such as when the veteran is unable to receive the needed care within the VA’s access standards or the nearest VA facility is not able to provide the required services. Through the CCN, veterans have more choices and easier access to healthcare services in their own communities.

Urgent Care Benefit: With the MISSION Act, eligible veterans now have access to urgent care services from non-VA providers without prior authorization. This benefit allows veterans to seek immediate medical attention for minor injuries and illnesses, such as flu, fever, or minor sprains, at a participating network of urgent care facilities. By expanding access to urgent care services, veterans are able to receive timely and convenient healthcare, thereby reducing the need to visit VA emergency rooms for non-emergency situations.

Expansion of the Caregiver Support Program: The MISSION Act also expanded the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) to include more veterans and their caregivers. Previously, the program was only available to post-9/11 veterans. However, with the MISSION Act, the program will be expanded to include eligible veterans from all eras of service, providing crucial support to caregivers who play a vital role in the health and well-being of veterans. This expansion improves access to resources and support services for more veterans and their caregivers, enhancing their quality of life.These three examples illustrate the positive impact of the MISSION Act on veterans by increasing their access to healthcare services and support systems that were previously deemed inaccessible or inadequate outside the VA network.


Expanded Access to Non-VA Care Through the MISSION Act FAQ

What is the MISSION Act and how does it expand non-VA care access?

The MISSION Act is a legislation aimed at improving veteran access to healthcare by expanding their options to include non-VA care providers. It improves veterans’ ability to receive care within their communities by making it easier to access both temporary and permanent non-VA care options.

How does the MISSION Act affect my current healthcare access?

The MISSION Act provides you with more healthcare options, improving access to both VA and non-VA providers. This means you can work with a non-VA provider to discuss your healthcare needs and create a plan tailored to your specific requirements, ensuring you receive timely, high-quality care.

How do I qualify for non-VA care under the MISSION Act?

To qualify for non-VA care under the MISSION Act, you must be enrolled in the VA healthcare system and meet at least one of the following eligibility requirements: living in a state without a full-service VA medical facility, needing a service not provided by your local VA facility, facing an unusual or excessive burden to access care at a VA facility, or requiring care that the VA clinician determines is best provided by a non-VA entity.

How do I request non-VA care under the MISSION Act?

To request non-VA care under the MISSION Act, first discuss your healthcare needs with your VA care team. They will help you determine if non-VA care is the best option for you and will provide assistance in scheduling an appointment with an eligible non-VA provider.

Does the MISSION Act affect wait times for appointments?

Yes, the MISSION Act helps to reduce wait times for appointments by giving veterans more healthcare options, allowing them to receive care from non-VA providers when needed. This legislation ensures that veterans can access timely, high-quality care, helping to reduce the backlog of patients waiting for appointments at VA facilities.


Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Community Care Network (CCN)
  • Veterans Community Care Program
  • Urgent Care Benefit
  • Eligibility Criteria for Non-VA Care
  • Appointment Scheduling and Care Coordination

Sources for More Information