St. Vincent’s Medical Center today announced a partnership to provide care through the Veterans Choice Program, giving veterans the opportunity to receive care at St. Vincent’s locations throughout Connecticut.
Now qualified U.S. veterans who face wait times in excess of 30 days at the VA or have to travel farther than 40 miles from their home can receive care from St. Vincent’s doctors. As part of Ascension, the nation’s largest nonprofit healthcare system and the world’s largest Catholic health system, St. Vincent’s Medical Center joins 23 other states and the District of Columbia in sustaining and improving the health of individuals and our communities by serving as an official provider of Veteran Care outside the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“St. Vincent’s is proud to provide high quality, compassionate, personalized care to eligible veterans in Connecticut through our participation in the Veterans Choice program,” said Stuart G. Marcus, MD, president and CEO, St. Vincent’s Medical Center. “It’s always a great day when we can offer services to more patients in need. When it comes to caring for those who have put their lives on the line protecting our freedom – our veterans – that is especially true.”
The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 established funding to pay for healthcare services provided to veterans by private healthcare providers. Through the partnership, St. Vincent’s physicians and other caregivers are authorized to provide primary care, inpatient and outpatient specialty care, and mental health care for eligible veterans outside of VA.
“This program is personal for so many of us, either because we served or we have a family member who is a veteran,” explained Christopher Willey, Veterans Choice Program Administrator, St. Vincent’s Medical Center. “As a veteran myself, it’s important to me to carry on the mission that I started as a Navy Corpsman and care for my fellow service members any time they are in need.” Willey, a resident of Milford, served in the United States Navy.
St. Vincent’s will work with Health Net, which is designated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to implement the Veterans Choice Program and provide eligible veterans access to care in their community when the local VA facility cannot readily provide care. Ascension has established a national provider registration with Health Net Federal Services, LLC, which is a federal health benefit administrator to the VA.
Nearly nine million veterans received the Veterans Choice Card. Use of the card is strictly voluntary; veterans who qualify for VA healthcare can continue to receive care at a VA medical facility as they have in the past. The program will end when the allocated funds of $10 billion are used or no later than August 7, 2017.
Veterans can determine eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program at va.gov/opa/choiceact/ or by calling the number on their Choice Card, 1-866-606-8198. They also can contact the Ascension National Veterans Call Center at 1-844-623-3003, for more information about Ascension and the care we provide or for assistance scheduling an appointment with a local Ascension provider who is participating in the Veterans Choice Program.
U.S. veterans, St. Vincent’s Medical Center patients, and caregivers who are interested in learning more about the Veterans Choice Program are encouraged to visit ascension.org/veterans.