Hoeven Urges Third Party Administrator TriWest to Continue Veterans Care Coordination Initiative at Fargo VA

Senator Worked with VA to Create Initiative to Reduce Wait Times under Veterans Choice Program

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (VA), today urged David McIntyre, the President and CEO of TriWest Healthcare Alliance, to maintain the Veterans Care Coordination initiative at the Fargo VA Health Care System. Hoeven worked to establish the initiative in 2016 to address long wait times for veterans seeking appointments under the Veterans Choice Program by allowing them to coordinate all of their health care through the Fargo VA, rather than Health Net, the administrator for the program at that time. The initiative also placed a Health Net representative at the Fargo VA to improve provider reimbursements and reduce denial of veterans’ claims. Due to its success, the initiative was extended to additional VA facilities around the nation. 

The VA recently announced that TriWest was selected to serve as the nationwide third party administrator for the Veterans Choice Program. Accordingly, Hoeven is pressing TriWest to continue the Veterans Care Coordination initiative and further expand it to areas of the country where veterans are still facing unacceptable wait times for appointments with community providers. The full text of Hoeven’s letter to McIntyre can be found here.

“Our veterans deserve access to timely health care appointments, whether through the VA or with community providers,” said Hoeven. “That’s why we need to continue the success of our Veterans Care Coordination initiative, which is exactly what we’re urging TriWest to do. This will help provide certainty for our veterans who rely on local medical services and cannot afford or risk travelling long distances to reach a VA facility. Moreover, maintaining our initiative in Fargo will help provide a smooth transition for veterans as the implementation of the VA MISSION Act progresses and we move to the next phase of the Veterans Choice Program.” 

Today’s letter comes as part of Hoeven’s continued efforts to ensure the smooth implementation of the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act. To this end, the senator is working with local stakeholders and veterans in North Dakota as well as administration officials, including VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, to ensure the law achieves the intent of Congress and provides veterans with better access to health care closer to home.

This includes the provisions Hoeven secured in the VA MISSION Act that allow the VA to enter into provider agreements with qualified long-term care facilities. Hoeven’s measure will provide relief from expensive federal contracting requirements and enable more long-term care providers to accept veteran patients.

Further, Hoeven secured a provision in the Fiscal Year 2019 funding legislation that stresses the importance of prompt payment and ensuring timely reimbursement for non-VA providers. The measure also directs the VA to facilitate the completion of any outstanding claims for payment.