Veterans of the United States military who receive their health care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) now can obtain care at Rush University System for Health hospitals if they need health services that may not be available at their area Veterans Affairs medical center. Under these circumstances, veterans now can access care at Rush University Medical Center, Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush Copley Medical Center.
This new arrangement took effect June 1 following an agreement between Rush Health, the Rush system’s network of health care providers and hospitals, and health insurer United Healthcare/OPTUM, which the Veterans Affairs Community Care Network (VA-CCN) awarded the contract to be administrator for the VA-CCN in the Illinois market. The VA-CCN plan is only available for veterans themselves and currently has 228,375 Illinois veterans enrolled.
While these veterans usually will receive care from VA hospitals and their physicians, sometimes services are not available, the VA may not have an appointment time open or the veteran lives too far away from a facility. Instead of forgoing a service or putting off care until later, they now can come to Rush for their medical care.
Veterans will be able to receive scheduled care by getting a referral form for a VA-CCN provider, and this new agreement will also cover emergency room care.
This brings a new opportunity for Rush and its the Road Home Program: The National Center of Excellence for Veterans and Their Families at Rush. The Road Home Program provides help to those readjusting to life after deployment., including confidential support, counseling and other health services. Road Home also provides help to veterans’ families, including counseling for parents, spouses and children.
“Any opportunity where we can expand our services for veterans and family members is big win for both Rush and our veterans,” said William Beiersdorf, director of the Road Home Program. “It further cements our relationship with the VA.”
Road Home now is taking steps to reach out to VA hospitals throughout the area to let veterans know about Rush’s new relationship with VA-CCN.
“We look at this as an opportunity to fill (health care) gaps,” Beiersdorf said. “At the end of the day it really is a win-win for all of us, especially the veterans. It gives them options; it gives them choices.”