VA ends contractor's duty of making appointments

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is returning to using its own employees to handle appointments for Alaska veterans who need medical services outside the VA system.

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is returning to using its own employees to handle appointments for Alaska veterans who need medical services outside the VA system.

    The Alaska Public Radio Network reports that state lawmakers announced Monday that TriWest Healthcare Alliance will no longer make veterans' appointments. The company will still handle billing and maintain relationships with medical professionals.

    Triwest was hired to administer the Choice Program, implemented under the 2014 Veterans Choice Act. The program allows veterans across the nation to seek treatment at clinics and hospitals outside the VA system if they face long wait times or live far from a VA facility.

    In Alaska, veterans had voiced frustration with the program, saying they experienced poor response from Triwest call centers and denials of service.

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