July 7, 2000
Volume XXXIII, No. 27



South Texas veterans receive new medical care options

In an effort to provide the most accessible medical care to military veterans, the South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS) is making several community-based clinics available for veterans.

Qualified veterans from 10 counties will be able to see an assigned primary-care physician at a clinic through the Community Based Outpatient Clinics program. The South Texas counties of Bexar, Hays, Guadalupe and Comal will be the base for the new clinics. Adjoining counties such as Blanco, Gonzales, Wilson, Atascosa, Medina and Kendall also will be serviced by the new agreement. Approximately 3,500 veterans will be affected by the new plan.

Community physicians will begin seeing veterans from their areas on a contract-for-service basis. Veterans from these counties will continue to receive specialized medical care at the STVHCS Audie L. Murphy Memorial Hospital or the Kerrville VA Hospital.

"The start-up and recurring costs associated with building or leasing and staffing new VA clinics are prohibitive," said Jose Coronado, STVHCS director. "By contracting services with physicians who are already near our veterans, we can provide more accessible care."

Coronado said the benefits for veterans include better access to primary-care doctors, reduced travel distances and time to see physicians, reduced waiting times, and reduced beneficiary travel expenses paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The STVHCS recently received congressional approval to establish the four community-based clinics with a target start date of July 1.