Veterans Affairs sets up call center to rectify billing errors | PostIndependent.com

Veterans Affairs sets up call center to rectify billing errors

Staff Report

Veterans can now work directly with the Department of Veterans Affairs to resolve debt collection issues resulting from inappropriate or delayed billing under the Veterans Choice Program.

A Community Care Call Center has been set up for veterans experiencing adverse credit reporting or debt collection resulting from inappropriately billed Choice Program claims. Veterans experiencing these problems can call 1-877-881-7618 (7 a.m. to 3 p.m. MDT) for assistance.

"As a result of the Veterans Choice Program, community providers have seen thousands of veterans. We continue to work to make the program more veteran-friendly," said Dr. David Shulkin, undersecretary for health. "There should be no bureaucratic burden that stands in the way of veterans getting care."

The Choice Program, meant to provide veterans living more than 40 miles from a VA hospital with access to care in their communities, has been fraught with problems, including long waits for return calls and difficulty getting appointments. In some instances, contract administrators of the program have not made timely payments.

The VA said the new call center will work to resolve instances of improper billing and to assist community care medical providers with delayed payments.

VA staff are also trained to work with the medical providers to expunge adverse credit reporting on veterans resulting from delayed payments to providers. VA is urging veterans to continue working with their VA primary care team to obtain necessary health care services regardless of adverse credit reporting or debt collection activity.

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VA acknowledges that delayed payments and inappropriately billed claims are unacceptable and have caused stress for veterans and providers alike. The call center is the first step in addressing these issues.

For more details about the Veterans Choice Program and VA's progress, visit: http://www.va.gov/opa/choiceact. Veterans seeking to use the Veterans Choice Program can call 1-866-606-8198 (7 a.m. to 3 p.m. MDT) to find out more about the program, confirm their eligibility and schedule an appointment.