Washington, D.C. — As part of his continued efforts to address issues with the Veterans Choice Program on behalf of Hoosier veterans, U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly today met with Billy Maynard, the President of Virginia-based Health Net Federal Services, which administers the program in most of Indiana. Donnelly called for answers from Health Net Federal Services in a January 20, 2016 letter, following reports of Hoosier veterans having trouble booking appointments and a number of veterans contacting the senator’s office for assistance. Health Net Federal Services is one of the third-party vendors contracted to help the VA implement the Choice Program around the country, including in Indiana. Most Indiana veterans must call Health Net Federal Services to schedule medical appointments.
Donnelly said, “We’re working to get to the bottom of and solve the problems some Hoosier veterans are having with the Veterans Choice Program, and that is why I met today with Health Net Federal Services. I continued pushing for answers and solutions for Indiana veterans who are experiencing long wait times on the phone to schedule medical appointments, disconnected calls, and other issues. We must work together—Health Net, VA, Indiana providers, and our veterans—to ensure that Hoosier veterans receive the timely and quality care they deserve, and I will continue working with Health Net Federal Services to ensure these issues are resolved.”
Senator Donnelly with Billy Maynard President of Health Net Federal Services.
Donnelly spoke on the Senate floor last month to highlight the challenges and share the stories of some Hoosier veterans who are trying to use the Veterans Choice Program. His office has heard from Hoosier veterans experiencing long wait times and other issues with scheduling appointments and accessing their benefits through the Choice Program – and worked to help these veterans.
The bipartisan Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, which Donnelly supported and voted for, was signed into law in August 2014 and established the Veterans Choice Program. Donnelly has been active in making improvements to the law, including on a provision that allows veterans to access non-VA providers if they live more than 40 miles from a VA health facility or face “an unusual or excessive burden” in accessing VA care. In late 2014 and again in early 2015, Donnelly and U.S. Representative Pete Visclosky (IN-01) sent the VA two letters requesting the VA consider travel times and the distance from appropriate care, rather than simply the straight-line distance from a veteran’s home to the nearest VA facility.