NE FL vets with long wait times, issues getting to VA, can receive treatment at local hospital

Northeast Florida veterans who have wait times of more than 30 days with Veteran Affairs, or have to travel more than 40 miles for care, can receive treatment at a local hospital through a new program.

The Veterans Choice Program allows veterans to receive treatment at any of the St. Vincent’s Health Care locations around Northeast Florida, if they satisfy the program's requirements.

“The angle at St. Vincent’s is simply to serve those who are in need and to serve them in a timely basis, and in the most convenient manner possible,” St. Vincent’s chief operating officer Tom VanOsdol told WOKV. “We know there’s a need and we want to be there to serve those who served us.”

The program is paid for through funding that already supports veteran health care through the VA. The program will end once $10 billion in allocated funds are used or no later than Aug. 7, 2017.

VanOsdol says leadership at St. Vincent’s will reevaluate the program after funding runs out, or the end date is reached, to determine if there is still a need in the area. He says funding can be allocated to support the program if a continued need is found.

“It’s our honor and privilege to participate in this program,” VanOsdol said.

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