Director of VA Medical Center in Cheyenne is excited about the Mission Act

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -- Paul Roberts, the Director of the VA Medical Center in Cheyenne, said the VA has been preparing for the healthcare changes. He said, "We have grown our staff. We have expanded our capabilities. We've done a lot of training and education for some of the new processes that we'll be using."

VA Medical Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming on June 6,2019.

Roberts said the Mission Act is a first step in giving veterans more choice in their healthcare. He wanted to test out how well the VA is prepared to handle the new system and said he was able to make an appointment with his own VA healthcare provider within nine business days. Roberts said, "That is about a third faster than what we see our community providers be able to do. So we're providing great access already."

Joshua Benavente, the Community Care Supervisor at the VA Medical Center in Cheyenne, said that with the Mission Act, Wyoming veterans living in rural areas are still eligible for care under the old Choice Law provisions. Benavente said, "That's really important because we are so rural." He also thinks that Wyoming veterans will benefit from being able to visit Urgent Care.

Benavente and Roberts both said that they think veterans will continue using the VA Medical Center. Roberts said, "Veterans choose the VA because it's a culture and it's a connection that they're familiar with and that they want to be a part of. A lot of our veterans come from great distances across the state to come to this hospital." Benavente said, "We're much more community focused in the VA. As opposed to just kind of processing people through and getting them out the door."

Roberts said that the Mission Act is going to challenge the VA to keep getting better to compete with other providers.