Written By:
Last Modified April 29, 2022
This page features 6 Cited Research Articles
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.

Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us


"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating
Read Our Testimonials
Jump To A Topic

What is The Veterans Choice Program (VCP)?

The Veterans Choice Program (VCP) was created in 2014 to help veterans get easier access to health care. Through this program, veterans can get health care from non-VA community providers paid for by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

VCP pays for eligible veterans to get non-VA health care if they live more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility or if the VA is unable to offer an appointment within 30 days.

Veterans also become eligible for VCP if the VA doesn’t offer the services veterans need. This is helpful for veterans with mesothelioma because most VA medical facilities are not equipped to provide multimodal therapy.

Multimodal therapy is the gold standard of mesothelioma treatment. It involves surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Sometimes it involves heated chemotherapy, which requires special equipment.

The first heated chemotherapy procedure for mesothelioma performed at a VA medical facility happened in 2015 at the VA Boston Healthcare System’s West Roxbury Campus. This medical center remains the only VA facility with the equipment required to perform heated chemotherapy. Veterans with mesothelioma can travel to Boston, but most prefer to receive treatment near their home.

Approximately five VA treatment centers offer specialized treatment for mesothelioma:

  • VA Boston Healthcare System
  • West Los Angeles VA Medical Center
  • Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center in Miami
  • Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston
  • Atlanta VA Medical Center

The Veterans Choice Program helps veterans with mesothelioma who live more than 40 miles away from these VA medical facilities access the specialized care their diagnosis requires.

On April 18, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act (S.544) into law. The act allowed the Veterans Choice Program to continue operating until the remaining $950 million in funds are exhausted.

In October 2021, VA leaders announced a phasing out of the Office of Community Care, which is the department that oversees the Veterans Choice Program. Its responsibilities will be transferred to a new department known as the Office for Integrated Veterans Care.

Who Is Eligible for the Veterans Choice Program?

Veterans may seek care through the Veterans Choice Program based on one or more of the following conditions:

  • VA cannot provide services the veteran needs
  • VA can’t make an appointment for the veteran at the nearest facility within 30 days
  • Veteran lives more than 40 miles away from the nearest VA medical facility
  • Veteran has to travel by air, boat or ferry to reach the nearest VA medical facility
  • Veteran experiences an excessive burden traveling to the nearest VA medical facility

Those who qualify for the program because the VA can’t make an appointment within 30 days are called “waitlist-eligible.” Those who qualify based on travel issues are called “distance-eligible.” These designations affect how veterans make appointments within the VCP system.

How VCP Works for Veterans with Mesothelioma

Veterans with mesothelioma particularly benefit from the Veterans Choice Program because their condition is rare and only a few VA clinics have mesothelioma specialists. This means many veterans with mesothelioma are likely eligible for the program because most VA facilities do not offer the services these patients need.

Still, every veteran must contact the VA to get pre-approved to use the VCP.

  • The first step to using the Veterans Choice Program is getting approval from the VA. Veterans must call the Choice Program Support Line at 866-606-8198 to confirm eligibility and receive approval from the VA.
  • Distance-eligible veterans must call the support line to make an approved medical appointment through VCP.
  • Waitlist-eligible veterans will receive a call from a VA partner to make an approved appointment.
  • Veterans do not need a VA-issued Choice Card to receive care, but a card will be issued anyway.

All medical appointments are made through the VCP. Veterans cannot make appointments on their own and expect the program to cover the expenses. If the VA does not pre-approve and make the appointment, they will not cover costs associated with treatment.

Prescriptions Are Reimbursed

The only part of the program that involves reimbursement is prescriptions. Veterans can fill prescriptions at any non-VA pharmacy and submit a request for reimbursement to the VA. However, prescriptions that must be taken longer than 14 days must be filled at a VA pharmacy.

Beneficiary Travel Program

A veteran’s travel costs to see a non-VA doctor may be covered by the VA’s Beneficiary Travel program.

This program offers reimbursement for mileage and other costs of transportation. Eligible veterans must have a service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more.

Veterans with service-connected mesothelioma are given a disability rating of 100 percent.

U.S. World War 2 veteran saluting with an American flag in background
Access Free VA Claims Assistance
Get the Compensation You Deserve
Laptop with screen video conference on kitchen counter
Watch Our Free Mesothelioma Webinars

Tell us what you think
Did this article help you?
How did this article help you?
What about this article isn’t helpful for you?
Did this article help you?

Thank you for your feedback. Would you like to speak with a Patient Advocate?