In response to continued challenges faced by veterans accessing healthcare, the Veterans Choice Program was created in 2014 under the Veterans Access, Choice, Accountability Act (VACAA) to provide primary care, inpatient, outpatient specialty care, and mental health care to eligible veterans. The goal of the program is to ensure that there are no unreasonable delays to healthcare services or treatment for veterans in need due to Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) wait times, lack of an available specialist, or distance to a VA medical facility.

Problem

The TriWest Healthcare Alliance partnered with the VA to execute and administer the Veterans Choice Program. Part of that execution included contracting trusted support to provide veterans with the resources required to ensure mission success. Three Wire’s subsidiary VetAdvisor, recognized for our technical behavioral health and coaching expertise, as well as our military cultural fluency, was contracted to provide this support for the administration and execution of the program.

Performance 

To enroll in Veteran’s Choice, a veteran works with the VA to determine eligibility and create a consult. Once the veteran has been entered into the case management system, they work with a member of our team of behavioral health professionals through the virtual behavioral health call center. Our Behavioral Health Veteran Representatives coordinate referrals and appointments for those veterans, and are trained in crisis management procedures for any veteran exhibiting psychological distress, requiring immediate attention.

The intake process for any veteran in the program includes an interview for assessment, and identification of relevant benefits and resources available to them through the VA. Through this process, the veteran’s profile is established, including their ideal times and days for appointments, information about the provider they would like to see, the location where they would like to be seen, and navigating insurance requirements. For speed, efficiency, and a seamless process for the veteran, with the information gathered from the intake process, our representatives are authorized to set appointments with their providers on the veteran’s behalf.

Whether in- or out-of-network providers, our representatives do what needs to be done to meet the needs and preferences of any veteran in the program. Our representatives take time to educate the provider about the program and the needs of the veteran and ensures that upon arrival to that provider, the veteran’s experience will be a smooth one.

Results 

Last year, our team handled over 70,000 cases on behalf of the Veteran’s Choice Program. This program is a step in the right direction towards helping veterans receive the health care they need, when and where they need it. Our team has played a pivotal role in these efforts by successfully providing alternative access to quality care through in- and out-of-network providers that meet the needs of the veterans. Our advocates actively advocate and inform provider communities about this program and are always looking to enroll new providers to help expand its scope.