Hoeven: VA Selects TriWest as Third Party Administrator for Veterans Choice Program, Must Continue Success of Veterans Care Coordination Initiative

Senator Working to Ensure Smooth Implementation of VA MISSION Act, Next Phase of Veterans Choice Program

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, today issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) reached an agreement with TriWest to serve as the nationwide third party administrator for the Veterans Choice Program. Earlier this year, Hoeven announced that the VA would end its contract with Health Net and was soliciting a new administrator for the program. 

“As we work to combine the VA’s community care programs and implement the next phase of the Veterans Choice Program, it is vital that we continue the success of our Veterans Care Coordination initiative, ensure veterans receive the best service possible and provide a smooth transition,” said Hoeven. “We welcome the VA’s new contract with TriWest and hope they will prevent unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles for our veterans as they seek health care through their local providers. We will continue our efforts to ensure the VA MISSION Act is implemented in an effective and timely manner to help deliver the best possible health care and long-term care services closer to their homes and loved ones.” 

Today’s announcement dovetails with 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 recently-confirmed 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.

This follows Hoeven’s work to establish the Veterans Care Coordination initiative at the Fargo VA Health Center in 2016. The initiative allowed veterans seeking community care to coordinate all of their health care through the Fargo VA rather than Health Net. The initiative also placed a Health Net representative at the Fargo VA to improve provider reimbursements and reduce denial of veterans’ claims. 

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.