View all text of Subjgrp 222 [§ 17.1500 - § 17.1540]

§ 17.1510 - Eligible veterans.

A veteran must meet the eligibility criteria under both paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section to be eligible for care through the Veterans Choice Program. A veteran must also provide the information required by paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section.

(a) A veteran must be enrolled in the VA health care system under § 17.36.

(b) A veteran must also meet at least one of the following criteria:

(1) The veteran attempts, or has attempted, to schedule an appointment with a VA health care provider, but VA is unable to schedule an appointment for the veteran within:

(i) The wait-time goals of the Veterans Health Administration; or

(ii) With respect to such care or services that are clinically necessary, the period VA determines necessary for such care or services if such period is shorter than the wait-time goals of the Veterans Health Administration.

(2) The veteran's residence is more than 40 miles from the VA medical facility that is closest to the veteran's residence.

(3) The veteran's residence is both:

(i) In a state without a VA medical facility that provides hospital care, emergency medical services, and surgical care having a surgical complexity of standard (VA maintains a Web site with a list of the facilities that have been designated with at least a surgical complexity of standard. That Web site can be accessed here:; and

(ii) More than 20 miles from a medical facility described in paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section.

(4) The veteran's residence is in a location, other than one in Guam, American Samoa, or the Republic of the Philippines, which is 40 miles or less from a VA medical facility and the veteran:

(i) Must travel by air, boat, or ferry to reach such a VA medical facility; or

(ii) Faces an unusual or excessive burden in traveling to such a VA medical facility based on geographical challenges, such as the presence of a body of water (including moving water and still water) or a geologic formation that cannot be crossed by road; environmental factors, such as roads that are not accessible to the general public, traffic, or hazardous weather; a medical condition that affects the ability to travel; or other factors, as determined by VA, including but not limited to:

(A) The nature or simplicity of the hospital care or medical services the veteran requires;

(B) The frequency that such hospital care or medical services need to be furnished to the veteran; and

(C) The need for an attendant, which is defined as a person who provides required aid and/or physical assistance to the veteran, for a veteran to travel to a VA medical facility for hospital care or medical services.

(c) If the veteran changes his or her residence, the veteran must update VA about the change within 60 days.

(d) A veteran must provide to VA information on any health-care plan under which the veteran is covered prior to obtaining authorization for care under the Veterans Choice Program. If the veteran changes health-care plans, the veteran must update VA about the change within 60 days.

(e) For purposes of calculating the distance between a veteran's residence and the nearest VA medical facility under this section, VA will use the driving distance between the nearest VA medical facility and a veteran's residence. VA will calculate a veteran's driving distance using geographic information system software.

(Authority: Sec. 101, Pub. L. 113-146, 128 Stat. 1754; Section 3(a)(2) of Pub. L. 114-19, 129 Stat. 215)

(The information collection requirements have been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget and are pending OMB approval.)

[79 FR 65585, Nov. 5, 2014, as amended at 80 FR 22909, Apr. 24, 2015; 80 FR 74996, Dec. 1, 2015]