Health Related Travel

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April 16, 2015

This story is somewhat related to one of the hot issues that we listed last month. An 82 year old Veteran has taken the same route to his medical appointments for years because he feels that it is the safest route for him. VAC used to reimburse him based on his odometer reading. However, VAC has recently been reimbursing him based on the mileage calculated via Google Maps, which uses his home address and the address where his appointments take place to calculate the distance. Although he had written to VAC to advise that he took his route due to safety, but nothing had changed. We checked his exact route on Google Maps and could see that the shortest route would involve this Veteran merging into and out of a three lane highway. We contacted VAC, on his behalf, and advised that although the Health Related Travel (HRT) guidelines state that an online calculator can be used to determine mileage, the policy is not so strict that it specifically states that a calculator has to be used. Travel is to be by the most convenient and economical means. As such, we requested VAC review the Veteran’s letter, pointed out the safety issue for him and the related policy. VAC agreed to overturn its decision and will backdate his previous HRT claims to reflect the full mileage.