Veterans choice medical program

Earlier this year I received a letter from the VA about their newest program designed to utilize local physicians.

If it’s good, I thought, it would be better than driving to Poplar Bluff or Columbia!

I learned that in July 2015, Texas County Memorial Hospital released an announcement that it was participating in the “Veterans Choice” program. I made a couple of inquiries and received an email that stated TCMH was in fact part of the network but leery of publicizing its involvement.

Anyway, I started researching, and Choice is administered through Tri West, for the VA. Yes, there are hoops to jump through.

First, you must call in to the Choice office, to ensure you are in the system. Secondly, the representative will themself or through Tri West make the appointment at either the hospital or the TCMH walk in clinic.

Once the appointment is made, a call back to the veteran is made to give him or her the appointment details. It is imperative that the veteran keeps the appointment! If it cannot be kept, call back in to the Choice office and let them know.

This is a new program and policy and workers are still working to streamline the benefit. I have heard one veteran was told he would have to find an office or physician that accepts Choice and call back to Choice and give them the info. When I enrolled in the program, a young woman made the appointment for me at the TCMH walk-in clinic.

So far in the last few months, progress has been made at Choice in smoothing over the potholes encountered earlier in the year. I believe in the future, use of the program will have fewer headaches for everyone involved.

The number to reach Choice office is 866-606-8198. So far there have been no overseas operators answer the phone when I call in.

American Legion Post 41 in Houston meets the second Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the Legion Hall next to Pizza Hut. All service members are invited – and encouraged – to attend.

Pizza and nonalcoholic refreshments are served. Afterward, myself and others are available to answer questions.

Houston resident Keith Ford is a retired infantryman and an amateur writer whose work has appeared in publications around the world. Email

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply Cancel reply