Changes in the VA Choice Program allow veterans in rural areas to make appointments with local, non-VA physicians for care.

Dr. Mir Ali of the Heart, Artery and Vein Institute, is an approved physician for self-initiated appointments from veterans who are grandfathered in the VA Choice Program.

• It is 40-plus miles to a VA medical location from their residence

• There are 30-plus days until available appointment

HAV is waiting for more information from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on the details and the timeline for the introduction of the new Mission Act. Until then, HAV encourages veterans to confirm their Choice Program eligibility. HAV, in turn, will continue to verify your insurance for testing, services and treatments.

Many in Rim Country are familiar with the active local advocacy groups:

• Veterans Helping Veterans, Rich (“Shaggy”) Nordlow, 928-978-9924 or

• Payson Veterans Advocacy Committee, Jim Muhr, 562-857-7655 or

The Payson Veterans Advocacy Committee 2019 Payson VA Town Hall Meeting with Phoenix VA representatives is at 4 p.m., Wednesday, June 12 at Payson United Methodist Church, 414 N. Easy St.

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