WSW: Giving Veterans A Health Care Choice

Apr 18, 2016

Veterans Park in Kalamazoo (file photo)
Credit WMUK

Military Veterans can find the process of getting care through the Veterans Administration cumbersome. But they do have options.

After long waits were reported for veterans seeking treatment at VA medical facilities, Congress approved legislation that allows vets to seek medical services outside of the VA system. Ascension Health, and its hospitals, including Borgess in Kalamazoo, are participating in the program in the Veterans Choice Program.

Borgess Chief Operating Officer Cindy Gaines and Business Analyst Jennifer Purucker joined us to discuss the program. Purucker is also an army veteran, with three combat deployments. Gaines says while the VA hospital in Battle Creek offers “excellent care” not everyone can get there, and sometimes there are long waits for an appointment. Veterans can be referred to a hospital that is part of the Veteran’s Choice program. But Gaines says they have to go through the VA first. 

Purucker says she has received a referral for services she needs, including reconstructive surgery on her ankle last year. Purucker says Kalamazoo County’s veteran’s affairs office at the Nazareth Complex can help military vets get enrolled in the VA program. She says there are other organizations willing to help veterans get the services they need.

Note: Ascension Health’s Veterans Choice Program is an underwriter of WMUK.