WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will open 10 new Rural Outreach Clinics by 2009 to increase the convenience of care for thousands of veterans living in rural areas.
"VA's commitment is to provide the best quality care to veterans, regardless of their address," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. "These clinics are a major step toward fulfilling that pledge to increase access to care for veterans living in rural areas."
The clinics provide primary care services, case management and mental health services. Each outreach clinic will be part of a VA network, maintaining VA's quality standards and access to larger VA facilities for specialized needs.
The 10 new clinics include a facility recently put in operation in Aroostook County, Maine.
Scheduled to begin operation this October are facilities in:
-- Houston County, Ga.;
-- Juneau County, Alaska; and
-- Wasco County, Ore.
Clinics to be operational by August 2009 are in:
-- Winnemucca, Nev.;
-- Yreka, Calif.;
-- Utuado, Puerto Rico;
-- Lagrange, Texas;
-- Montezuma Creek, Utah; and
-- Manistique, Mich.
"VA is constantly monitoring our veteran population. Where we see a need to improve access to care, we act on it," said Dr. Michael J. Kussman, VA Under Secretary for Health.
The Department's recent outreach to veterans in rural areas includes:
-- Creation of a 13-member Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee to advise Peake on issues affecting veterans in rural areas (www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=1511);
-- Announcement of the roll-out in early 2009 of four new mobile health clinics to serve veterans in 24 predominately rural counties (www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=1552);
-- Announcement of three new Veterans Rural Health Resource Centers -- in White River Junction, Vt.; Iowa City, Iowa; and Salt Lake City -- to develop practices and products that will improve health care for veterans in rural areas (www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=1548);
-- Nearly tripling the mileage reimbursement -- from 11 cents per mile to 28.5 cents per mile -- paid to veterans who travel significant distances to receive VA health care (www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=1447); and
-- Creation of a "Travel Nurse Corps" to augment existing nursing staff in needed areas (www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=1466).
SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs