VA Portland Health Care System (VAPORHCS)
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News Releases
Choose VA logo
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VA Portland Health Care System prepares to launch new VA health care options under MISSION Act (Photo) - 06/04/19

PORTLAND, Ore. - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will launch its new and improved community care program June 6, 2019, implementing portions of the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018 (the MISSION Act), which both ends the Veterans Choice Program and establishes a new Veterans Community Care Program. 

The MISSION Act will strengthen the nationwide VA Health Care System by empowering Veterans to have more options in their health care decisions.

Under the new and improved Veterans Community Care Program, Veterans can now work with their VA health care provider or other VA staff to see if they are eligible to receive community care. Eligibility for community care does not require a Veteran to receive that care in the community; Veterans can still choose to have VA provide their care. Veterans are eligible to choose to receive care in the community if they meet any of the following six eligibility criteria:

  1. A Veteran needs a service not available at any VA medical facility.
  2. A Veteran lives in a U.S. state or territory without a full-service VA medical facility. Specifically, this would apply to Veterans living in Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire and the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  3. A Veteran qualifies under the “grandfather” provision related to distance eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program.
  4. VA cannot furnish care in a manner that complies within certain designated access standards. The specific access standards are described below. (Important: Access standards are proposed and not yet final.)
  • Average drive time to a specific VA medical facility
  • 30-minute average drive time for primary care, mental health and noninstitutional extended care services.
  • Sixty-minute average drive time for specialty care.
    Note: Average drive times are calculated by VA using geo-mapping software.
  • Appointment wait time at a specific VA medical facility  
  • Twenty days for primary care, mental health care and noninstitutional extended care services, unless the Veteran agrees to a later date in consultation with his or her VA health care provider.
  • Twenty-eight days for specialty care from the date of request, unless the Veteran agrees to a later date in consultation with his or her VA health care provider.
  1. The Veteran and the referring clinician agree it is in the best medical interest of the Veteran to receive community care based on defined factors.
  2. VA has determined that a VA medical service line is not providing care in a manner that complies with VA’s standards for quality.

“We are honored to reaffirm our commitment to America’s Veterans,” said VA Portland Health Care System Director Darwin Goodspeed. “Our staff is steadfast in providing health care that meets the needs of our Veterans at the right time and place.”


  • Strengthens VA’s ability to recruit and retain clinicians.
  • Statutorily authorizes “Anywhere to Anywhere” telehealth provision across state lines.
  • Empowers Veterans with increased access to community care.
  • Establishes a new, urgent-care benefit that eligible Veterans can access in the community.

“We understand any transformation of this size and on such a rapid timeline is not without risk,” said Goodspeed. “We are aiming for excellence in this effort, and we will continue to tweak and improve the process.

VA Portland serves approximately 95,000 local Veterans every year.###

For more information:

VA Portland Health Care System (VAPORHCS ) serves more than 95,000 Veterans in Oregon and Southwest Washington. The health care system consists of the main tertiary care medical center located in Portland, the Vancouver campus located in Vancouver, Wash., a Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC) in Portland, as well as nine community outpatient clinics across Oregon that support our Veterans.  These clinics are located in Bend, Fairview, Hillsboro, Warrenton, Newport, Salem, The Dalles, West Linn, and Lincoln City Oregon.

 Integrity – Commitment – Advocacy – Respect - Excellence

Attached Media Files: Choose VA logo
Choose VA logo
Choose VA logo
VA Portland Hosts Tele-Town Hall June 3rd and 4th to discuss VA MISSION Act (Photo) - 05/31/19

The VA MISSION Act of 2018  goes into effect on June 6, 2019. Under this new legislation, Veterans can expect better access and greater choice in their health care, whether they receive it at VA or through a community provider.

Anyone interested is invited to join VA Portland Health Care System leadership and subject matter experts in a telephone town hall to learn details regarding the new program and how eligible Veterans can use it.

To sign up...

Clink on the respective link below and simply add your telephone number and first name (optional) to allow us the opportunity to call you to join the conversation about the MISSION Act. Nothing else is required except to answer your phone when we call that day / time...

Monday, June 3, 2019, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Once you register via the links above, you will simply receive a call to join the town hall on the date time of the event.  Depending on the number of callers, staff should be available to talk to you during the call and put you in a queue to ask specific questions during the event. If we can't get to your question during the event, we will plan to get back to you after the event.

A presentation will be available HERE for you to download and follow along during the event.  Expect this presentation to be updated/posted no later than June 1, 2019.

For more information and resources about the MISSION Act, go to the VA Portland Health Care System website.

If you have questions, please contact the VA Portland Public Affairs Office at 503-402-2975.


Attached Media Files: Choose VA logo