Many veterans suffer combat-related injuries, including mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and traumatic brain injury. Quality health care is crucial as veterans transition into civilian life.
Many Americans have compassion for their veterans. These veterans have either been physically or mentally wounded in combat. From the Vietnam War to recent conflicts in the Middle East, there have been drastic changes in the level of care that these veterans receive at VA hospitals. Yet so many veterans are not receiving the healthcare they desperately need. Why is this?
There are many things that prevent a veteran from receiving the proper medical care they need. I am a combat wounded veteran myself and I live in Jacksonville, FL. The closest VA clinic is about fifteen miles away, but many veterans are not that close to a VA facility. The VA facility closest to me is just a VA outpatient clinic. The closest VA hospital to me is over an hour and a half away.
Transportation issues is a problem for many veterans. A veteran might not have a vehicle to drive to a VA facility. The veteran may also not be physically able to travel to a VA clinic or hospital. So, what has The Department of Veterans Affairs done to help with the coordination of getting veterans the proper medical care they desperately need?
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been very proactive in getting veterans to a VA facility to receive the proper medical care. The VA has implemented a shuttle service at many VA clinics. These shuttle services transport veterans that need more skilled care to a VA hospital. The shuttle runs from the VA outpatient clinics to the VA hospital and back to the VA outpatient clinic that same day.
If a veteran is traveling themselves a decent distance to a VA healthcare facility the VA will reimburse them for their gas expenses. When the veteran arrives to a VA appointment, they fill out a travel voucher. It usually takes on average a couple of weeks the veteran has a stipend for travel to their VA appointment direct deposited into their checking account.
What happens if the VA cannot provide the care to a veteran that they need in a timely manner? The VA in recent years has implemented a program called Community Based Care. If the VA cannot get a veteran, the care they need within a certain timeframe they refer the veteran to a local VA contracted doctor/facility. This way a veteran can receive the care they need and not have to wait a long time to receive it or travel far to a VA clinic/hospital.