Ayotte, Shaheen to host May 26 forum on Veterans Choice Card program

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VA officials will be available to answer veterans’ questions about health care.
US Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, left, and Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, will attend forum May 16.
US Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, left, and Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, will attend forum May 16.

MANCHESTER, NH – U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, invite New Hampshire veterans to attend a public forum on May 26 at Saint Anselm College, along with officials from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to discuss the Veterans Choice Card program.

New Hampshire veterans will have an opportunity to hear directly from VA officials and ask questions regarding their health care options under the Veterans Choice Card program. Representatives from VA New England Healthcare System, Manchester VA Medical Center, and White River Junction VA Medical Center will participate. The forum will be moderated by WGIR’s Jack Heath.

“New Hampshire veterans deserve to know their options when it comes to receiving health care under the Veterans Choice Card program, and we’re hosting this forum so that they can speak directly to VA officials and ask questions to gain a better understanding of how to use the program,” said Senators Ayotte and Shaheen. “We will continue our efforts to ensure this program is properly implemented so that New Hampshire veterans can receive quality, timely care closer to home.”

Because New Hampshire is the only state in the continental U.S. without a full service VA hospital, Ayotte and Shaheen have worked together to expand options for New Hampshire veterans to receive care closer to home. Last year, they included a provision in the VA reform bill that allows most New Hampshire veterans the option to seek care from local non-VA health care providers in New Hampshire, rather than having to travel long distances to receive VA services out of state. The senators have expressed concerns with the VA’s roll-out of the Choice Card program in New Hampshire, which has caused confusion among veterans seeking to use the program.

In addition to pressing the VA secretary to address problems with the Choice Card program’s implementation, in February, Ayotte and Shaheen sent a letter to President Obama expressing opposition to a provision in the administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget that seeks to cut funding from the Veterans Choice Card program. The senators urged the president to faithfully implement the Choice Card program as Congress intended.  Ayotte and Shaheen have also introduced separate legislation to protect the Choice Card program for the state’s veterans. Under current law, the Choice Card program is authorized for three years or until its $10 billion dollar initial funding allocation is exhausted. The senators’ new legislation would make the program permanent for veterans living in states without a full service hospital, like New Hampshire.

The forum will be held May 26 from 2-4 p.m. at the Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, 100 Saint Anselm Dr., in Manchester.

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About Carol Robidoux 5853 Articles
Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!