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MURRAY: Change to 40-mile rule will help more veterans access much needed care

Washington, D.C.—Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it had implemented a new formula to determine eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program. The new formula is based on the distance between a veteran’s place of residence and the nearest VA medical facility using driving distance rather than straight-line distance, or “as the crow flies.” During last year’s negotiations to overhaul the VA, Senator Murray fought to include a provision to help veterans who take ferries, drive rural roads, or drive over mountain passes, all of which add significant travel time.

The formula change, effective immediately, will roughly double the number of eligible veterans.

“Today’s announcement is an important change to increase access to care for veterans, especially those living in rural areas. The commitment we make to care for our servicemembers and veterans does not end when they return home. There are still many other serious challenges we must work together to address on behalf of our nation’s heroes, and I will keep pushing for ways to improve the services and support our country offers to fulfill the promises we make to those who serve.”

Find more information on the VA’s announcement here.