WASHINGTON, DC – The Department of Veterans Affairs recently informed Alaska Congressman Don Young that as of July 10, 2016, the scheduling for Choice Act medical appointments in Alaska will revert back to being handled by local VA integrated care personnel, instead of its current practice of outsourcing scheduling requests to contractor-operated call centers in the Lower 48. The Alaska congressional delegation has been demanding this change after hearing from numerous Alaska veterans who have been ill-served by the new VA system established after the Choice Act was passed in 2014.
“The implementation of the VA Choice Program in Alaska was nothing short of disastrous,” said Congressman Don Young. “We’ve heard countless accounts from veterans and VA personnel that our system has left many Alaskans without answers, without access, and without timely and adequate healthcare. This is unacceptable and does not reflect our nation’s solemn commitment to the more than 77,000 veterans who call Alaska home. Although not a silver bullet to the VA’s shortcomings, the Alaska-specific solutions announced today are an important step forward. Having designated scheduling staff in state, rather than staff in the lower 48 without any understanding of Alaska’s size or transportation challenges, works to resolve a major issue we’ve seen in recent years. Both Senators and I are fully committed to ensuring all those that served our nation receive the benefits they earned and are owed.”