“To increase the convenience of care for thousands of veterans living in rural areas,” the federal VA will open 10 new clinics in small towns over the next year. The first new outreach clinic has already opened in Aroostook County, Maine.
Though rural residents’ service in the armed forces is disproportionately high, most VA health facilities are located in urban areas. It’s not uncommon for rural vets, especially in Western states, to live two or more hours from VA hospitals and service centers.
Three new outreach clinics will be established next month in Houston County, Ga.; Juneau County, Alaska; and Wasco County, Ore. Six more will be in operation by August 2009: Winnemucca, Nev.; Yreka, Calif.; Utuado, Puerto Rico; Lagrange, Texas; Montezuma Creek, Utah; and Manistique, Mich.
The VA also will put in service four mobile health clinics next year for vets in 24 rural counties and has increased mileage reimbursements for veterans who must travel long distances for health care. See this site for more on rural initiatives within the VA.