Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Steve Knight (R-CA), working with the Department of Veterans Affairs, has initiated a new program to expand health care options for former service members who live in regions underserved by VA hospitals.
The Immediate Care Initiative allows veterans receiving their healthcare from the VA access to local walk-in urgent-care clinics for out-patient medical issues if they cannot be seen by a local VA clinic in a timely manner.
Previously, veterans would wait until their local VA clinic could schedule an appointment and have to travel to Los Angeles for care.
With this pilot program, veterans will be able to quickly fulfill most of their basic healthcare needs without having to leave their local communities, allowing them the option to use walk-in clinics after-hours, on weekends, or if the local VA clinic is booked.
As part of the soft launch, veterans in the Antelope Valley and Bakersfield may receive health care benefits at nine newly accessible facilities in the Antelope Valley and Bakersfield regions.
Additional non-VA urgent care clinics in Santa Clarita, the Antelope Valley, Simi Valley and Ridgecrest will be integrated for the official launch of the pilot program in the coming weeks.
“This Immediate Care Initiative is huge win for our veterans in the AV and Bakersfield,” Knight said. “The current status quo in which we force our veterans to endure unacceptable wait-times, excessive travel distances, and a sea of bureaucracy cannot continue. I believe this is a perfect model to implement in our community.
“By opening up options for care right in their backyards, this pilot program will allow our local veterans to get the treatment they need in a timely and accountable manner,” he said. “Rather than building duplicative facilities, this innovative program utilizes already-existing sites to ensure proper coverage. This will dramatically improve the quality of life for our region’s veterans.”
This program is the first in the nation to utilize home-grown urgent-care facilities to expand healthcare coverage for veterans. The concept for this program was initiated by a public-private partnership idea that would use trusted urgent care facilities in the area to meet veteran healthcare demand.
“In the past, our hometown heroes had to navigate through the worst of Washington’s red tape, often waiting weeks to see a local VA doctor or driving hundreds of miles to Los Angeles to receive the medical care they earned, only to drive back for something as simple as a sinus infection,” said Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
“Our veterans deserve nothing short of the best, and this program represents a positive step toward giving our men and women who once donned a uniform the attentive care they deserve at a convenient location close to home,” he said. “I want to thank my colleague, Congressman Steve Knight, for his work in getting this program off the ground, and for his continued dedication to our nation’s veterans.”