NH clinics treat veterans quickly, but relatively few use VA

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By Associated Press

While Veterans Affairs facilities in New Hampshire are doing well in meeting the health system’s timeliness goals, they serve only a quarter of the state’s veteran population. Advocates hope a new program will direct veterans to the VA system and improve the care they receive in other settings across the state.

New Hampshire has the fifth-highest ratio of veterans in the United States, with 115,000 veterans making up nearly 11 percent of the state’s population. But the state does not have an active duty military installation where veterans can easily find support and services, and it is one of a few states without a full-service VA hospital.

 In addition to the VA medical center in Manchester — which was downgraded from a full-service facility 15 years ago — smaller outpatient clinics are in Conway, Keene, Littleton, Portsmouth, Somersworth and Tilton. Between September and February, all but Portsmouth ranked above the national average for seeing patients within 30 days, according to government data reviewed by The Associated Press.

Nationwide, wait times haven’t declined since Congress gave the VA $16.3 billion in August to hire more doctors, open new clinics and expand a program designed to make it easier for veterans who cannot get timely appointments to obtain care outside the department’s facilities.

 

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