New effort puts veterans, Haywood first

Jan 14, 2013

The Rural Health Initiative being rolled out by the VA Medical Center is one that will serve veterans in Western North Carolina well.

An added privilege is that Haywood County will become the first place in the entire nation where the program will be used.

This county has a proud history of military service, and becoming the first area where a new project serving veterans in rural areas is fitting.

Under the rural health program, veterans who want to access the VA medical services for the first time often have to wait for two to three months for an initial appointment. This is merely an assessment where information is gathered and baseline tests are done.

Now, veterans from across the region can schedule an intake assessment at the Hawyood County Health Department where an exam and an interview room have been have been set aside for use by VA personnel. Assessments will initially be held once a month, but the number of days can expand as needed. The new system will reduce the wait for a veteran’s initial appointment at the Oteen VA center to between two and three weeks instead of that many months.

Hats off to all involved in the project. Now all that’s needed is to spread the word among veterans who can benefit from the extra effort to make their lives a little easier after all they have sacrificed.