VA partners with DOD to increase surgery access for Gulf Coast Veterans


The Department of Veterans Affairs announced a new partnership with the Department of Defense to increase access to world-class surgical care for approximately 37,000 Gulf Coast-area Veterans. Under this new agreement, these Veterans will now be able to receive same-day, outpatient surgical care at a new VA clinic in Naval Hospital Pensacola — a local DoD hospital.

Ensuring that Veterans have timely access to world-class health care is a top priority for VA. This partnership allows Veterans in the Gulf Coast region to receive ambulatory surgical care from VA clinicians, who will be stationed at the new VA clinic in Naval Hospital Pensacola. Previously, local Veterans traveled to Biloxi VA Medical Center in Mississippi for these surgical procedures — or received their care from community providers. Local Veterans will not have to change their normal processes to access this care; instead, VA will simply schedule their surgical procedures at the new clinic as appropriate.

The first local Veterans are receiving care at Naval Hospital Pensacola this week. Moving forward, VA plans to expand surgery access for Veterans at the DoD facility, adding services such as orthopedics; ear, nose, and throat; podiatry; ophthalmology; and urology.

“This partnership will help VA provide more care, more quickly, to more Gulf Coast Veterans – as close to their homes as possible,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Shereef Elnahal, M.D. “Establishing partnerships like this is an efficient and often cost-effective method for VA to increase Veteran access to care, while helping to modernize the Veteran health care experience. We are proud to work with DoD to better serve our nation’s heroes.”

“Partnering with the local DoD hospital increases Veteran access to VA care, helping us meet the needs of the growing number of Veterans in our area who entrust VA with their health care,” said, Director of the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System Stephanie Repasky, Psy.D.

“As a Veteran who has received numerous surgeries with VA‘s assistance and has traveled far and wide for pre- and post-op appointments after surgeries, it would have been easier if it could’ve been done closer to home. Not only for me, but for my family,” said Gulf Coast-area Veteran Lori Milkeris. “I appreciate VA listening to the struggles that impact our Veterans. Being able to stay local after a surgery is beneficial to recovery.”

The partnership is a key part of VA’s comprehensive strategy to modernize the VA health care system nationwide. Through this work, VA is aggressively working to expand the amount of available space to meet Veteran demand for VA health care services and address challenges associated with aging facilities.

In addition to expanding partnerships with DoD, VA has recently reached agreements with Stanford University to build a cutting-edge cancer and research center and with Penn Medicine to expand health care access in Southeastern Pennsylvania. These public-private partnerships were made possible under the PACT Act, the largest expansion of VA health care and benefits in generations.

For more information on VA health care for Veterans in the Gulf Coast area, visit VA Gulf Coast Health Care.

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