“Veterans Choice” Expands Convenient and Quick Access to Care for Vets
Veterans throughout New Hampshire will soon have broad access to Catholic Medical Center's wide range of services at locations around the state, thanks to a ground-breaking new approach to health care. The Veterans Administration formally approved dozens of programs to be included in its new “Veterans Choice” program. CMC can now be a first choice if a veteran uses the Choice Card, and wants to get care from CMC.
The new benefit for Veterans is due to the Veterans Access Choice and Accountability Act (VACAA), signed into law last August. The Manchester-based health system has been approved to provide primary, specialized, urgent, inpatient and emergency care to eligible Veterans at all of its locations. A third party administrator called Health Net manages this program. Veterans can set up appointments at CMC by calling the 800-number on their Choice Card.
“We are honored to be able to care for the men and women who have devoted their lives to protecting and serving our country,” said Joseph Pepe, MD, president and CEO of Catholic Medical Center. “We have close to 200 physicians in programs and practices throughout New Hampshire who are eager to provide high-quality care in a timely manner.”
Most notably CMC’s New England Heart and Vascular Institute is included in the VA Veterans Choice program, which gives Veterans access to award winning cardiology care in eight different cities and towns in New Hampshire. Other CMC programs include surgery, internal medicine, family medicine, urgent care and behavioral health. CMC has offices in 13 NH communities from Berlin to Nashua. All of CMC’s employed physicians are included in this program.
US Senator Kelly Ayotte, who helped author legislation to create the Veterans Choice Card program, calls this a significant announcement for Veterans in New Hampshire. “This marks an important step forward for improving accessibility to quality health care for our Veterans,” says Senator Ayotte. “We will continue to implement and refine this new program to ensure that Veterans get the care they deserve in their local communities, at precisely the time they need it. They deserve nothing less and I am honored to be a part of the efforts to expand care to these men and women.”
The VA Veterans Choice program started in November, and is a cooperative program to include hospitals and private health care centers to offer care for Veterans. A NH Veteran enrolled in the VA health care system, is eligible to be able to use the Veterans Choice program. Access to participating providers in the Veterans Choice program is based on a person’s distance from the nearest full service VA medical center (20 miles driving distance) or the wait time for care (more than 30 days).
“Our specialty care services, including cardiology, vascular surgery and a new amputee care program, make us uniquely qualified to serve the health needs of those with military backgrounds,” said Pepe. “We are tremendously proud to help improve Veterans’ access to essential health care.”