Governor McAuliffe announces new healthcare options for Virginia veterans

healthcareGovernor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Virginia veterans who face barriers to accessing the Veterans Administration (VA) health system will have more options for care through new provider agreements between the VA and community health centers.  The Governor made today’s announcement while speaking at the Appomattox Area Health and Wellness Center in Petersburg.

Accelerating veterans’ access to care is a key component of the Governor’s A Healthy Virginia plan.  Through the recently passed Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility or who would otherwise have to wait more than 30 days for an appointment can now be seen at a participating community health center.  The legislation provides $10 billion over three years to the VA to pay private providers to care for eligible veterans.

Virginia is the first state in the nation to develop provider agreements between Federally Qualified Health Centers and the VA through the Veterans Choice Program.  To date, four Federally Qualified Health Centers, with 22 sites of care have signed up to provide health services to eligible veterans.  These sites are located on the Eastern Shore, New Canton, Louisa, Charles City, Aylett, Prince George, Alberta, Charlotte Court House, Fredericksburg, Victoria, Amelia, Emporia, Dinwiddie, Ferrum, Floyd and Laurel Fork.

“We are getting results for Virginia’s veterans,” said Governor McAuliffe. “As soon as the Veterans Choice Act became law, we began working with the VA to explore how to fully leverage the new funding and enable Virginia’s veterans to get faster access to care.  I hosted the first-ever Governor’s Summit on Expanding Health Care Access for Virginia Veterans and brought together top leaders from the VA with hospitals and community health centers to seek solutions.  Now, less than three months later, there are 22 new access points for veterans across the Commonwealth.”

“Community health centers are pleased to partner with the Veterans Health Administration to provide medical care to our Virginia veterans,” said Neal Graham, chief executive officer of the Virginia Community Healthcare Association. “They have stood ready for us; we stand ready for them.”

“I applaud the Veterans Administration for moving so quickly after Governor McAuliffe’s Summit to facilitate these new partnerships with Federally Qualified Health Centers in Virginia,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel. “Now, through the Choice Program, veterans in many rural areas of the state can receive quality care right in their own community.”

“We need to work closely with the VA to ensure that all our veterans receive the care and benefits they deserve in a timely manner,” said Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs John Harvey. “This is exactly the type of partnership I hope to see even more of going forward. I am especially pleased that there are five new sites of care available on the Eastern Shore for veterans who face transportation issues and other barriers.”

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