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Louisville VA Medical Center


Rural Health Care - Bringing the Experts to You

Phyllis Westray, Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Carroll County CBOC using tele-health to communicate with a Veteran.
By Robley Rex VA Public Affairs Officer
Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to providing excellent health care to every veteran who honorably served this nation.  About 3 million (41%) of America’s Veterans live in rural areas.  For a number of reasons, these Veterans sometimes experience difficulty traveling to see a VA doctor or other health care provider.  The problem is further complicated by the distance many rural Veterans live from their VA facility.  Since 2007, VA’s Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Rural Health has been developing and implementing strategies, specifically designed to improve the quality of and access to health care for rural Veterans.  The Robley Rex VAMC has taken this commitment very seriously and has expanded access to rural area Veterans by opening three community based outpatient clinics (CBOCs).  These CBOCs are located in Carrollton (Carroll County) and Clarkson (Grayson County) Kentucky and Scottsburg (Scott County) Indiana and provide primary care, mental health, and other preventive and ancillary services.  Specialty services for PTSD, military sexual trauma, and substance abuse are also provided in these clinics.

We are pleased to announce that expanded Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy services are now being offered at both Scott and Carroll County CBOCs four days per week (two days at each clinic).   Occupational Therapy is offered on an “as needed” basis.   Plans are currently underway to expand these services at our Grayson County CBOC in the future.  Therapy services include a comprehensive patient evaluation, a patient-centered plan of care, and treatment interventions focused on meeting jointly established therapy goals.

VA has also invested in tele-health technology; taking the Veteran’s health care experience beyond the “brick-and-mortar operation.”  Veterans visiting a local CBOC, can now interact with a specialty care provider located at the Robley Rex VAMC.  The specialty care provider and Veteran communicate with each other, both visually and verbally, through a TV screen.    In addition to specialty care, VA also offers a wide variety of mental health services and care associated with traumatic brain and polytrauma injuries, through the use of tele-health technology.

This is an exciting time to be a part of the VA Health Care System.  Initiatives, such as those associated with rural health, demonstrates VA’s commitment to the principle that all Veterans receive the same high level of expert, competent, consistent and compassionate health care, regardless of where they choose to live.


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