In a recent message to VA employees, Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy, MD., the Interim Under Secretary of Health for the Department of Veterans Affairs, noted that there are currently, 3.2 million—35 percent—of our enrolled Veterans in rural locations, and the number is growing.
“Veterans who live in rural communities will be a key population to target in our efforts to provide equitable care,” Dr. Clancy stated in her memo. And this is a challenge where both current and future VA health providers a positive impact in the lives of Veterans and their families.
According to Dr. Clancy’s memo, Rural Veterans face some unique barriers to care, including a lack of public transportation, limited broadband coverage, and a smaller number of community providers.
VA’s Office of Rural Health (ORH) works to ensure rural Veterans receive the same level of care and access to services as their urban counterparts. ORH’s programs focus on improving the health and well-being of rural Veterans by increasing their access to care and services. A key component of this targeted, solution-driven approach is ORH-funded pilot projects, which served 649,000 Veterans last year. The office also works to remove barriers to care through a variety of local efforts, including projects that focus on telehealth, transportation, and mental health.
“I encourage everyone to watch ORH’s new three-minute video, ‘Caring for Rural Veterans,’ which spotlights the needs of our Veterans in rural communities, and a few of the many ways we are making a difference, as validated by a Veteran filmed at a community based outpatient clinic,” wrote Dr. Clancy. You can also learn more about ORH’s projects at www.ruralhealth.va.gov.
Dr. Clancy believes strongly that teamwork will be essential to VA’s success in providing safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable health care for our Veterans.
If you are a health care provider and share Dr. Clancy’s model for providing VA health care to our Veterans, please consider career opportunities in rural communities. Go to VAcareers.va.gov today to learn more.
There are currently openings for mental health professionals in rural locations at both the VA Montana Health Care System in Fort Harrison (Helena) and the Sheridan VA Medical Center in Sheridan, Wyoming. These positions include:
- One nurse practitioner or Psychiatrist at Kalispell, MT
- One Nurse Practitioner and three Psychiatrists at Fort Harrison, MT
- One Psychiatrist at Billings, MT
- Four psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners with high-quality mental health experience at Sheridan, WY
For more information about these positions, contact Tim Blakney, National Healthcare Recruitment Consultant, VHA Healthcare Recruitment & Marketing (WMC) at firstname.lastname@example.org.