Governor McAuliffe meets with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald

virginiaGovernor Terry McAuliffe, Secretary John Harvey, and Secretary Bill Hazel met Wednesday with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald to discuss ways that Virginia can partner with the VA to accelerate access to health care for Virginia veterans.

The meeting was a follow-up to the Virginia Summit on Veterans Health Care Access held in November, which brought together top leaders from the Veterans Health Administration with state officials and private health care providers to explore how Virginia could improve availability of services for veterans.  As a result of the summit,Virginia became 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.

At the meeting, Governor McAuliffe proposed other possible solutions to enhance access, including fully leveraging telemedicine, building new access points for care, and sharing of space. “I know that by working together, we will continue to find creative solutions to these challenges, stated Governor McAuliffe.  “I am committed to the cause of accelerating access to health care for our veterans and ensuring that Virginia is the model for the entire country for effectively partnering with the VA.”

Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs John Harvey said, “Virginia is pulling out all the stops to support our veterans.  It is our duty to develop innovative and efficient programs that have positive impacts, as we continue to lead nationwide in serving our fast growing veteran population.

“Access to care is a critical issue here because Virginia has the fastest-growing veteran population of any state,”said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel. “We appreciate the support of Secretary McDonald and his team and look forward to collaborating to make the system work as it is intended for the benefit of our veterans.”

In addition to finding better ways to provide Virginia veterans with quality health care, Virginia is leading the way on ending veteran homelessness. Virginia is poised to become the first state in the nation to end veteran homelessness in 2015, and last month Governor McAuliffe announced that in 100 days, Virginia reduced veteran homelessness by 75%.



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