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Expanded Access to Non-VA Care Through the MISSION Act


The VA MISSION Act, signed into law in 2018, is a comprehensive legislation that aims to improve veterans’ access to healthcare services. Expanded Access to Non-VA Care refers to the provision allowing veterans to receive medical care from private providers outside the VA healthcare system if certain criteria are met. The goal is to reduce wait times and offer more convenient care options for veterans seeking medical assistance.

Key Takeaways

  1. The MISSION Act improves and expands access to non-VA care, allowing eligible veterans to receive medical care from community providers when VA facilities are unable to provide the needed care in a timely manner or at a convenient location.
  2. Under the MISSION Act, veterans have more choice and control over their healthcare options, both within the VA and through approved community providers, helping to ensure they receive the care they need, when they need it.
  3. This legislation integrates and streamlines the multiple existing community care programs into a single, efficient system to improve veterans’ access to high-quality care, while also bolstering the VA’s internal capacity to address the needs of its growing patient population.


The term “Expanded Access to Non-VA Care Through the MISSION Act” is important because it reflects a significant change in the way military veterans receive their healthcare benefits.

The MISSION Act, which stands for Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act, aims to improve veteran access to healthcare services by streamlining and consolidating existing community care programs.

This allows eligible veterans greater flexibility to seek care from non-VA providers if it meets certain quality, access, and timeliness standards.

The Act also aims to enhance the VA healthcare infrastructure, invest in workforce development, and improve access to telehealth and other innovative solutions.

Overall, the Expanded Access to Non-VA Care through the MISSION Act is a crucial step towards ensuring timely, high-quality, and culturally competent healthcare services for the brave men and women who have served our country.


The Expanded Access to Non-VA Care through the MISSION Act aims to provide veterans with a more comprehensive and accessible healthcare system by leveraging networks of private healthcare providers in addition to government-run VA facilities. The primary purpose of this development is to eliminate long wait times, reduce the burden on existing VA services, and ensure that veterans have access to timely, quality care. This component of the MISSION Act is designed to meet the healthcare needs of veterans living in rural areas or facing limited availability of VA services within their regions.

Consequently, it empowers U.S. veterans by providing them with more options and expanding their access to healthcare services beyond the VA system. This initiative stands as a testament to the government’s continuous efforts to prioritize the well-being of its veterans and address the unique healthcare challenges they face.

Under the Expanded Access to Non-VA Care, veterans can now seek care from eligible non-VA healthcare providers in instances where their local VA facilities are unable to accommodate their needs promptly or provide specialized services. This seamless integration between the existing VA healthcare system and external providers allows for a more balanced and effective approach to addressing veterans’ needs while enhancing their overall experience within the healthcare system. In summary, the Expanded Access to Non-VA Care through the MISSION Act serves as a powerful instrument to increase the healthcare options available to America’s veterans, ensuring that they receive the unparalleled care and support they undoubtedly deserve.

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

The MISSION Act, which stands for Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act, is a law enacted in 2018 that aims to improve the healthcare services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The MISSION Act expands access to non-VA care for veterans in several ways. Here are three real-world examples:

Community Care Program: Under the MISSION Act, the VA has established a new Veterans Community Care Program that allows eligible veterans to access healthcare services from non-VA providers. This expanded access helps veterans who may face challenges in obtaining timely or adequate care from VA facilities due to geographic location or other factors. For example, a veteran living in a rural area might be able to see a non-VA doctor closer to home if a VA medical center is too far away or has limited availability of specialists.

Urgent Care Services: The MISSION Act also provides eligible veterans with access to non-VA urgent and walk-in care services for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses. This expanded access means veterans can visit approved urgent care centers and walk-in clinics without visiting a VA facility or getting prior authorization. As a real-world example, a veteran who needs treatment for a minor illness like the flu can now go to a nearby urgent care clinic for prompt medical attention instead of waiting for an appointment at a VA facility.

Caregiver Support: With the MISSION Act’s expansion of the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC), more families and caregivers of eligible veterans can receive support and resources, including access to healthcare services through the VA’s Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA). In a real-world example, a caregiver who is providing support to a disabled veteran from a non-service-connected injury can receive healthcare coverage through CHAMPVA, enabling them to maintain their health while supporting their loved one.


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

Q1: What is the MISSION Act?

The MISSION Act is a law that was passed in 2018 to improve veterans’ access to healthcare services. It aims to consolidate VA’s community care programs and expand eligibility criteria, allowing veterans to seek care from non-VA providers when necessary.

Q2: How does the MISSION Act affect access to non-VA care?

The MISSION Act improves access to non-VA care by streamlining the process for receiving community care and expanding eligibility for veterans. This means that more veterans will be able to seek care from non-VA providers when VA care is not available or convenient.

Q3: What are the eligibility criteria for accessing non-VA care under the MISSION Act?

Some of the eligibility criteria include: if a veteran lives more than 40 miles away from a VA facility, if they need a service that is not available within VA, or if they face an excessive wait time (20 days for primary care or 28 days for specialty care) at their nearest VA facility.

Q4: Will the MISSION Act affect my current VA healthcare benefits?

No, the MISSION Act is designed to enhance and complement your existing VA healthcare benefits. It does not replace or alter the benefits you currently receive through the VA.

Q5: How do I access non-VA care using the MISSION Act?

To access non-VA care, you first need to consult with your VA healthcare provider. Together, you will discuss your healthcare needs and whether community care is the right option for you. If so, your VA provider will refer you to a non-VA provider and help you coordinate your care.


Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Community Care Network (CCN)
  • Veterans Community Care Program
  • Urgent Care Benefit
  • Eligibility criteria for non-VA care

Sources for More Information