Tuesday, June 18, 2024

New law could help expand veterans’ health care services to more communities in Vermont

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Thousands of veterans across Vermont could see an expansion of health care services in the coming years under a bill signed into law by Gov. Phil Scott earlier this month.

The bill allows the Vermont Veterans’ Home in Bennington to partner with different health care provider groups throughout the state to offer services to veterans closer to their communities, instead of making them visit Bennington.

Melissa Jackson, CEO of the Vermont Veterans’ Home, said the bill is the first step in creating a system where veterans can receive important care closer to where they live.

“That’s the ultimate goal, yes, because we realize Bennington is far away from most of the population centers in the state of Vermont, and we want to be able to take care of all of our Vermont veterans closer to their homes, because family support is so important,” she said.

Jackson said her organization plans to do a detailed study to determine which services would be most helpful for veterans. She said any plan will ultimately require the approval of state health care regulators.

“How can we help the VA — the federal VA — provide care and services? Where can we partner there?” Jackson said. “Is there an adult day health center that’s going to need staffing or what have you? The opportunities are endless, basically.”

There are roughly 35,000 veterans in Vermont, and the majority are over 65.

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