VA Partners With Military Bases to Offer Healthcare Services
In the last part of 2023, the Department of Veterans Affairs may have started a healthcare revolution for veterans living in military communities.
The first headlines on this issue focused on a VA partnership with Naval Hospital Pensacola to provide outpatient surgical services to more than 35 thousand veterans living along the Gulf Coast. Those services aren’t provided by Naval Hospital staff but by VA professionals.
That began in mid-October 2023, and it’s already gaining momentum. Health.mil reports, “VA plans to expand surgery access for veterans at Naval Hospital Pensacola in 2024, adding services such as orthopedics; ear, nose, and throat; podiatry; ophthalmology; and urology.”
Add to that a future plan to use “joint DOD-VA infrastructure investment to activate a 12-bed medical-surgical inpatient unit that will serve DOD beneficiaries and veterans.”
This news would be of little interest to those living outside the treatment areas on the Gulf Coast, except that the idea is catching on in other locations, too.
VA Care At Active Duty Military Bases
The Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs held a press conference in October 2023 announcing that veterans in the VA healthcare system may be able to get treatment or care at three additional bases. According to Military.com, those bases are in Oklahoma and Kentucky.
“The announced expansion is one of the largest VA and Department of Defense health-care partnerships to date, with more expected to follow, though no timeline for accepting patients was immediately provided,” MilitaryTimes.com reports.
That article adds the VA currently “struggles with aging facilities and surging enrollment following the PACT Act.”
No start dates have been announced at press time for the expanded VA care at these active duty bases. Some expect changes to begin before the end of 2023.
How These Partnerships Can Help Veterans Get Medical Care
According to the DoD, those living near one of the bases that offer VA services won’t have to travel outside their community to get medical care (depending on the nature of the treatment) or use a community-based private care provider.
Under the new system, according to Health.mil, “Local veterans will not have to change their normal processes to access this new care; instead, VA will schedule their surgical procedures at the new clinic as appropriate.”
“This partnership will help VA provide more care, more quickly, to more Gulf Coast veterans—as close to their homes as possible,” said VA Undersecretary for Health Dr. Shereef Elnahal, quoted in a Healthcare.mil press release.
“Establishing partnerships like this is an efficient and cost-effective method for VA to increase veteran access to care while helping modernize the veteran health care experience,” he said. “We are proud to work with DOD to better service our nation’s heroes.”
This innovation is meant to be a featured part of modernizing VA healthcare and updating it for the 21st century.
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.