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Ayotte, Shaheen Forum To Put Focus On VA's Choice Card Program

Brady Carlson
New Hampshire U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (left) and Jeanne Shaheen, speaking at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton, May 25, 2015.

New Hampshire’s US senators are holding a forum Tuesday afternoon to discuss the Veterans Administration’s new Choice Card program.

The program, established in the overhaul of the VA in 2014, allows veterans to use private medical providers if their VA center is too busy or too far away. The latter has been an issue in New Hampshire, a state in which the VA has facilities but no full-service hospital.

Republican US Senator Kelly Ayotte says one of the challenges now is making sure veterans know about the program. “Unfortunately our veterans aren’t being informed what their rights are to seek private care,” Ayotte says. “Instead of driving to Massachusetts to get care that they need, they can go in their local community if that’s what they choose.”

Ayotte says the forum at Saint Anselm College will give veterans a chance to ask questions of VA officials about their options under the program, and to make the program more responsive for those who might use it.

Shaheen describes the event as “a chance for some of those who are part of the VA implementing this program to hear from those about some of the issues they’ve had as they’ve tried to make it work. So we hope this is a way to call attention to the program and to start to do a better job of implementing it.”

Ayotte and Shaheen are among a number of US Senators who have raised concerns about the launch of the program. 

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