Tuberville Continues Fight to Protect Veterans’ Access to Community Care

VA taking action to roll back community care referrals for veterans

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) joined U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough urging him to reassess recent actions taken by the department to drastically cut VA referrals to community care. In 2018, Congress passed the MISSION Act, which replaced the Veterans Choice Program with the Veterans Community Care Program. In the years since the passage of MISSION Act, the VA healthcare system has seen increases in enrollment, utilization, and reliance, as well as improvements in key measures of quality, given veterans have access to the care of their choosing, whether at the VA or in the community. 

“Among the Red Team’s recommendations are suggestions that VA save money by reducing community care referrals for veterans seeking emergency, oncology, and mental health care,” the members wrote. “Veterans in need of these services are among the most vulnerable and high-risk. It is unconscionable that VA would consider leaving them with fewer options to seek needed care.”

“VA claims that the Red Team’s work was independent, and that their findings are still under consideration,” they continued.“However, a significant increase in the number of reports from veterans and their family members, as well as from whistleblowers working in VA medical facilities, about dangerous administrative practices, suggest that VA is already operating in accordance with the Red Team’s recommendations. For example, in one recent case, VA cancelled the community care authorization of a veteran who had just two treatments left to complete a course of successful chemotherapy in his hometown.”

Joining Senators Tuberville and Moran in the letter are U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), John Boozman (R-AR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Thune (R-SD), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jim Risch (R-ID), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ted Budd (R-NC), Rick Scott (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and James Lankford (R-OK).

Full text of the letter can be found here


As Alabama’s voice on the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC), Senator Tuberville has long advocated for quality and timely care for Alabama’s more than 400,000 veterans. This includes not only physical, but mental health needs as well.

Senator Tuberville has helped introduce multiple pieces of legislation—including the Veterans’ Health Empowerment, Access, Leadership, and Transparency for our Heroes (HEALTH) Act—to expand healthcare options for veterans, protect their options for community care, and improve the quality of care at VA medical facilities.

Senator Tuberville also introduced the No VA Resources for Illegal Aliens Act to ensure that VA resources intended for courageous veterans are not used to care for illegal aliens. He pressed Secretary McDonough about this and the rehiring of 4,000 VA employees who were dismissed under the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 for their failure to provide swift and safe care to veterans. 


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Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.