Monday, July 15, 2013

Grants should help rural veterans get transportation to medical facilities

Veterans living in rural areas should have an easier time finding transportation for their health-care needs. The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Wednesday it is accepting applications for grants up to $50,000 "to help state veterans service agencies and veterans service organizations operate or contract for transportation services to transport veterans to VA medical centers and other facilities that provide VA care," a news release said. (VA photo: A veteran is assisted into a van at the Salt Lake City VA Medical Center)

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said in the release, “VA wants to be sure that all veterans, including those who live in rural and remote areas, can receive the health care they have earned through service to our country. State veterans agencies and VSOs will now be able to employ innovative approaches to transportation services for veterans in our highly rural areas.  The end results will include better service and better health care for veterans.” (Read more)

Several areas are in need of the grants, such as western North Dakota. Lou Lombardi, a local veterans service officer, said "In some of the areas, it is bad and they don’t have any access at all," Jennifer Johnson and Austin Ashlock report for The Forum in Fargo. (Read more)

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said, "All over New Mexico, I have been hearing about the challenges facing rural veterans in receiving timely, quality VA health services," reports Karl Wehmhoener for NBC4 in Amarillo. Udall said the grant "supports new ways to improve access to veteran care that will hopefully enhance transportation options, reduce wait times to receive treatment and cut down on unnecessary expenses." (Read more)

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