New health options for veterans

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ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A new program launched by the Department of Veterans Affairs is designed to give vets more options for healthcare  

This month, the Veteran’s Administration implemented what it calls a  new and improved community care program. The department  promises that it will increase vets access to care at other medical facilities in the community.

.Veterans in Blair County have close access to the Urgent Care Center at the Van Zandt VA Medical Center, but that hospital and its six clinics serve more than 26,000 vets in a 14 county area. The Mission Act would make it easier for veterans in outlying areas to get this type of walk-in treatment. 

Van Zandt Director Sigrid Andrew says, “Probably for this community, the most important piece of the Mission Act is the urgent care benefit which would allow our veterans to see an urgent care provider closer to where they live.”

Vets still have to meet eligibility requirements to get access to community care. They include how long the average drive time is to a VA medical facility, and the amount of time patients have to wait for an appointment.

“The most important takeaway for vets is that they need to be a current enrolled veteran to be eligible for this program,” Andrew noted.

That means veterans have to be seen at a VA medical facility once within the past 24 months.

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