Reaching Veterans in rural areas and through Technology
Over the past decade and a half, the Department of Veterans Affairs has made its mark in changing the healthcare landscape of America. Innovations such the highly acclaimed Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) have led the nation in changing the approach to healthcare. Nationally, the VA has adopted a strategy of “patient centric care “which places the Veteran at the center of an individualized healthcare team. The team assists the Veteran in optimizing their care in an environment that they desire. This means breaking down geographical and other barriers to serve Veterans in rural and highly rural areas. VA Hudson Valley Health Care System (VA HVHCS), has undertaken several initiatives to do this.
The Monticello Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) is at the heart of this approach. In the past year, we have opened a new state of the art clinic which provides a range of services. This clinic which has traditionally provided primary care was chosen to be the home of one of our first patient centric team models. The staffing there was enhanced with nursing care management to help Veterans coordinate their care needs, improve access, health education and understanding their disease process. Counseling in areas such as weight loss and diabetes have also been expanded with some use of technologies like tele-health classes. New technology will also allow us to provide physician coverage from other locations when a doctor is not available at the clinic site, and to develop specialty clinics by remote access. This enables the VA HVHCS to provide some specialized care to those Veterans who cannot otherwise come to our main campuses.
VA Hudson Valley has also expanded our Home Base Primary Care program (HBPC) by opening a satellite office in the Monticello CBOC. Initially staffed by one nurse case manager, a social worker and nurse practitioner operating in conjunction with the physician medical director of the program , it allows us to reach many areas of the Monticello – Port Jervis region which we could not do from the main campus due to travel time and distance limitations. This program is critical to caring for debilitated Veterans who are home bound or limited in their ability to travel to the clinics for care. It provides critical monitoring of chronic diseases, laboratory monitoring, assistance with medication management and/or Veterans at risk for frequent hospitalizations/emergency department visits. The program is enhanced by offering each enrolled Veteran electronic disease monitoring through our tele-health services, which allows us to collaboratively work with patients to improve their outcomes. In the near future, we will have the ability to remotely exam Veterans in their home thus expanding the reach of the program’s medical director and other specialists.
We have also provided hospice and palliative care services to these areas through collaboration of our HBPC program and our Hospice –Palliative Care Program. These services are often very available in urban areas, but sparse in rural settings. We believe that we can make a difference in the lives of Veterans in end of life care.
Finally, we recognize the need for reaching out to the many veterans in these regions who are not aware of well deserved benefits, or who are of the belief, that because of their remote region, benefits are not available to them. VA HVHCS works together with community organizations and events such as the recent Sullivan County Department of Veterans Affairs Favor card and VA Enrollment event.
Any Veteran seeking eligibility information about VA care, please call 914-737-4400, ext. 2306 or 845-831-2000, ext. 5100 for more information.
If any veteran is interested in the above programs, please call Chris Rupp at 845-791-4938.