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Monday, September 22, 2014

VA Announces New Pilot Program for Veterans in Rural Areas

The VA announced in early September that it has chosen 5 organizations in 8 states to participate in a pilot program, Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot (RVCP), designed to help Disabled American Veterans who live in rural or underserved areas receive the best possible medical care.

These organizations include:

- The Maine Department of Labor
- The New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services
- The Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors
- Volunteers of America North Louisiana (also covers Arkansas and Texas)
- Westcare Washington, Inc. (covers Washington state and Oregon)

The RVCP is a 2-year program that will focus on assisting disabled rural service members in their transition to civilian life. Grants of up to $2 million will be awarded to the participating organizations. The money is to be used to provide assistance to veterans in one or more of the following areas:
1.     Easier access to benefits. This would include better coordination between the VA and non-VA providers to help veterans and their families get the care and benefits they are entitled to.
2.     Greater availability of medical and mental health care. The recently authorized Veteran’s Choice Cards (see our article from 8/11/2014 for more information) would be used to help veterans and their families more easily receive care from non-VA providers.
3.     Improved transition assistance. This would make it easier for veterans and their families who don’t live near a VA facility to get help as they make the transition from active duty to civilian life.
4.     Increased outreach. The VA would use a variety of methods to make sure that veterans in rural areas had the most accurate and up-to-date information to help them receive the care and benefits they deserve.

“We want to do everything that we can do to support our Veterans and their families,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “We are looking forward to working with these organizations. This two-year pilot will not only be beneficial to those Veterans we currently serve, but to future Veterans as we learn best practices to replicate it in other rural communities throughout the country.”

If you live in one of the areas covered by the participating organizations, contact your closest VA office to ask about options that may be available to you through this program. 


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