Capito, Manchin urge VA to cover Mobile Testing Sites


CHARLESTON — U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie requesting that the department cover coronavirus (COVID-19) mobile testing sites in the same manner as urgent and emergency care. Currently, mobile testing sites are not covered under the VA’s urgent and emergency care policies, making it difficult for veterans across the country—especially in rural areas where veterans are faced with the challenge of traveling to the nearest VA facilities or paying for the tests out-of-pocket.

“As you know, the VA MISSION Act expanded urgent and emergency care services, but it did not factor in unforeseen circumstances such as a global pandemic. It is critical that the VA covers COVID-19 mobile testing sites in the same manner as urgent and emergency care, so veterans can access these testing sites, without being stuck with the bill. This is especially important for rural veterans who currently have to choose between traveling to their nearest VA facility or paying for a test out of pocket, if they go to a site within their community,” the senators wrote.

The signed letter is below:

Dear Secretary Wilkie,

We are writing to urge the Department of Veterans Affairs to authorize mobile testing sites in the same manner as the Department’s urgent and emergency services policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you know, the VA MISSION Act expanded urgent and emergency care services, but it did not factor in unforeseen circumstances such as a global pandemic. It is critical that the VA covers COVID-19 mobile testing sites in the same manner as urgent and emergency care, so veterans can access these testing sites, without being stuck with the bill. This is especially important for rural veterans who currently have to choose between traveling to their nearest VA facility or paying for a test out of pocket, if they go to a site within their community.

We applaud the VA’s efforts in caring for veterans during these difficult times, but it is imperative that all veterans have access to COVID-19 testing and urge you to authorize mobile testing sites in the same manner as urgent and emergency care services. We have also requested a phone call with you to discuss the issue we have identified.

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