How to Pay for Rehab with the MISSION Act Community Care Program

Last Updated: February 12, 2020

The MISSION Act is a Veterans Affairs (VA) program that allows veterans to receive healthcare from community providers in specific situations. This page will provide more information about the MISSION Act and how veterans can use Community Care for addiction treatment.

What is the MISSION Act Community Care Program?

U.S. Veteran receiving support from addition treatment healthcare team. By allowing veterans to receive healthcare from community providers, the MISSION Act expands access to services that veterans are otherwise unable to receive through the VA for specific reasons.1 It was created upon the sunset of the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) in June 2019.1, 2, 3 Criteria for eligibility in either program is similar, although some changes were made.1, 2

While the VCP is inactive, veterans can be “grandfathered” into the MISSION Act, allowing continued receipt of community care benefits.1, 2 This applies if they lived more than 40 miles away from the nearest full-service VA facility on June 6, 2018, and still meet this requirement.1, 2

To qualify for the MISSION Act, veterans must:1, 2, 3

  • Be enrolled in VA healthcare or be eligible for VA healthcare.
  • Receive approval from the VA before visiting community providers.

Eligibility depends on meeting one of the following criteria:1, 2, 3

  • Being “grandfathered” in, as listed above.
  • It’s in the best medical interest of the veteran.
  • The service needed are not available at a VA facility.
  • The VA can’t provide care within access standards.
    • Average drive time of 30 minutes or wait of 20 days for primary/mental health care or 60 minutes or wait of 28 days for specialty care.
  • The VA doesn’t meet quality standards for that service line.
  • The veteran’s home state doesn’t have a full-service VA facility.

The MISSION Act amends the VCP to benefit more veterans, such as recalculating the distance based on driving time and shortening the wait time threshold.4 It allows veterans to utilize community health services without requiring private insurance coverage.

Addiction Treatment and the MISSION Act

The MISSION Act may provide coverage for veterans with a substance use disorder (SUD). An assessment will be conducted to determine which level of care is appropriate for your addiction rehab needs. If criteria are met, addiction coverage could include:5

  • Detox: Generally the first step in treatment, detox allows the body to clear itself of substances. Medications may be provided to help ease withdrawal symptoms. Detox is most effective when followed by additional treatment.
  • Inpatient treatment: This is a residential facility that is staffed 24/7. Intensive therapy is provided in group and individual settings and psychiatric care is provided as needed.
  • Partial hospitalization: This setting provides the benefits of inpatient care without requiring a residential stay and therapy is provided during the day. Programs can be tailored for those with physical or mental illness and drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Outpatient treatment: A less intensive program than inpatient treatment or partial hospitalization, this involves shorter session durations. Outpatient treatment is best for people with strong social supports who have completed inpatient treatment or partial hospitalization, and for those who have responsibilities at work, school, or home.

Salute to Recovery Program for Veterans

American Addiction Centers (AAC) offers the Salute to Recovery program that focuses on the unique needs of veterans, including service-related mental health challenges. In addition to receiving alcohol and drug use treatment, participants learn to manage their co-occurring mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or anxiety. Participants work with our medical staff to learn how to maintain sobriety and cope with mental health symptoms through a combination of techniques, including:

Our Admissions Navigators are always available to assist you.

Call Now (888) 902- VETS

AAC’s admissions navigators can guide you through the process in addition to providing steps that are needed in order for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to assist in covering your addiction treatment.

Our admissions navigators will instruct you to call your local VA office to schedule and complete a mental health consultation. The VA will then determine if they have the resources for your specific needs.

How Do I Get Started?

To get started with the MISSION Act, the first step is to make an appointment at the VA, where they will determine if you are eligible.1 Once you’ve received authorization for community care, you can search for an approved provider, or VA staff can assist you.1 Then schedule an appointment and notify the VA, who will send your referral to you and the provider.1 For more information, call or chat with the VA.

Additional Support

How Much Will Treatment Cost?

The MISSION Act pays for services that traditional VA healthcare would cover and may include SUD treatment for eligible and qualified veterans. SUD treatment coverage may include:

  • Initial assessment.
  • Medical detox.
  • Inpatient treatment.
  • Partial hospitalization.
  • Outpatient treatment.
  • Medication-assisted treatment.

You may have a copay, which is billed through the VA.7 If care is determined to be unrelated to service, the VA may also bill your insurance provider.1 For more information, contact the VA at 877-222-8387. AAC works with many insurance companies. To learn more you can also call our admissions navigators at 888-966-8152 , to receive more information about accepted insurance providers and treatment options.

The MISSION Act provides expanded coverage for veterans in specific situations. This may include rehab treatment and ensures that veterans can get the care they need to recover from alcohol or drug addiction. Programs like AAC’s Salute to Recovery allow veterans to get treatment tailored to their needs. The MISSION Act and AAC make recovery easier.



  1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2019). Community care.
  2. Military Benefits. VA MISSION Act.
  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2019). Veteran community care eligibility.
  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2018). 10 things about the Veterans Choice Program.
  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research-based guide (3rd edition).
  6. American Addiction Centers. (2020). Notice of privacy practices.
  7. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2019). Copayments.
Last Updated on February 12, 2020
About the editor:
Sarah Hardey
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A Senior Web Content Editor for the American Addiction Centers. Sarah has worked with healthcare facilities across the country to create digital content for readers of all types.