Leading private-sector health system woos veterans in ads

CHICAGO (AP) — A leading hospital system is courting military veterans with a multimillion-dollar ad campaign, raising concerns from some veterans groups that private sector marketing could weaken the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system.

Ascension Health’s advertising launches Monday. It will urge vets to learn about a VA program that allows some to get federally paid medical care from local doctors.

The campaign uses the tag line “Veterans have a choice in healthcare.” St. Louis-based Ascension is using the ads to draw patients eligible for Veterans Choice, the cornerstone of the 2014 VA overhaul.

Ascension wants to see the Choice program extended beyond its expiration next year.