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VA Announces $22 Million for Rural Veterans

Peake: Down Payment on Expansion of Services

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has provided $21.7 million to its regional health care systems to improve services specifically designed for veterans in rural areas.

"This special allocation is the latest down payment on VA's commitment to meet the needs of veterans living in rural areas," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. "VA will take to our rural veterans the health care services they have earned."

Within the last year, VA has launched a major rural health initiative. The Department has already created a 13-member committee to advise the VA secretary on issues affecting rural veterans, opened three rural health resource centers to better understand rural health issues, rolled out four new mobile health clinics to serve 24 predominately rural counties, announced the opening of 10 new rural outreach clinics in 2009 and launched a fleet of 50 new mobile counseling centers.

The extra funding is part of a two-year VA program to improve the access and quality of health care for veterans in geographically isolated areas. The program focuses on several areas, including access to health care, providing world-class care, the use of the latest technology, recruiting and retaining a highly educated workforce and collaborating with other organizations.

More specifically, the new funds will be used to increase the number of mobile clinics, establish new outpatient clinics, expand fee-based care, explore collaborations with federal and community partners, accelerate the use of telemedicine deployment, and fund innovative pilot programs.

The new funds will be distributed according to the proportion of veterans living in rural areas within each VA regional health care system, called VISNs, for "Veterans Integrated Service Networks."

VISNs with less than 3 percent of their patients in rural areas will receive $250,000. Those with population of rural veterans between 3 percent and 6 percent will receive $1 million each. And VISNs with more than 6 percent of their veterans population in rural areas will receive $1.5 million.

                       Special VA Funding for Rural Health

            VISN                  Headquarters             Extra Funds
            ----                  ------------             -----------
             1                   Bedford, Mass.             $1 million
             2                  Rochester, N.Y.             $1 million
             3                   New York, N.Y.               $250,000
             4                 Wilmington, Del.             $1 million
             5                   Baltimore, Md.               $250,000
             6                     Durham, N.C.           $1.5 million
             7                     Atlanta, Ga.           $1.5 million
             8                  Bay Pines, Fla.             $1 million
             9                 Nashville, Tenn.           $1.5 million
            10                 Cincinnati, Ohio             $1 million
            11                 Ann Arbor, Mich.             $1 million
            12                    Chicago, Ill.             $1 million
            15                 Kansas City, Mo.           $1.5 million
            16                   Jackson, Miss.           $1.5 million
            17                 Arlington, Texas             $1 million
            18                      Mesa, Ariz.             $1 million
            19                    Denver, Colo.             $1 million
            20                 Vancouver, Wash.             $1 million
            21                Palo Alto, Calif.             $1 million
            22               Long Beach, Calif.               $250,000
            23                    Lincoln, Neb.           $1.5 million

SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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