The Department of Veterans Affairs announced plans to open 13 new community-based outpatient clinics for veterans in nine states.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki says the clinics, which will begin opening later this year, are "key to providing veterans better access to high-quality care closer to home."
“By reducing the distance veterans have to travel, we hope more veterans will benefit from the health care services they have earned through their service to our nation," he says.
With 152 medical centers and more than 812 community-based outpatient clinics, the department operates the largest integrated health care system in the country. VA will provide health care to about 6.1 million patients in fiscal year 2012 and 80 million outpatient visits.
It’s good news for veterans, who historically have lacked in health care offerings.
A May report from the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that more than 1.3 million working veterans don’t have health insurance and aren’t getting care from the Department of Veterans Affairs. That’s 10 percent of the nation’s 12.5 million veterans under the age of 65 who aren’t insured. About 7.4 percent of veterans’ family members (about 950,000 people) also aren’t insured.
The researchers had pointed out that though many veterans get insurance from the Veterans Affairs, many aren’t aware of what benefits are available to them. Others aren’t eligible.
The first of the new outpatient clinics will become operational during the latter part of 2012, with openings continuing through 2015. Local VA officials will keep their veterans, communities, congressional offices and other stakeholders informed of the progress of the new CBOCs.