Shaheen Introduces Legislation to Cut Red Tape That's Contributing to VA Choice Card Reimbursement Delays

**Shaheen's legislation will help address persistent payment delays to providers administering care to New Hampshire veterans**

February 11, 2016

(Washington, DC) - Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation to streamline and simplify the billing process for reimbursing health care providers administering care to veterans in the Veterans Affairs Choice Card Program. Currently, Choice Card Program regulations and agency bureaucracy have resulted in lengthy payment delays for care providers, threatening provider participation in the program and access to care for veterans. Last month, Shaheen wrote to VA Secretary Robert McDonald calling on him to immediately address the Choice Card reimbursement delays.

"Our veterans deserve better than this," said Shaheen. "The bureaucracy that New Hampshire providers have had to navigate to receive payment is completely unacceptable. If the VA will not act with urgency and fix this problem on its own, then Congress should force their hand and pass my legislation. Our veterans deserve a swift resolution to this problem so that they can continue treatment with the providers of their choice." 

Shaheen’s legislation would reduce the number of rejected and delayed claims by ending the VA’s requirement that providers submit medical records prior to receiving payment, bringing the Choice Card program in line with other federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid. It would also make sure that if the VA continues to not pay their bills on time, providers are reimbursed with interest. 

New Hampshire is the only state in the continental U.S. without a full service VA hospital, and Senator Shaheen has worked to expand options for New Hampshire veterans seeking to receive care closer to home. In 2014, Senator Shaheen worked to include a provision in the VA reform bill that allows most New Hampshire veterans the option to seek care from local non-VA health care providers in New Hampshire through the Choice Card program, rather than having to travel long distances to receive VA services out of state. The Senator has frequently criticized the VA's roll-out of the Choice Card program in New Hampshire.

Senator Shaheen is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. She is also a member of the Appropriations subcommittee responsible for the VA budget.