New health care process for Island veterans
The office of public affairs at Providence VA Medical Center issued a fact sheet, "Veteran Health Care on Martha's Vineyard," which addresses six questions most commonly asked recently by Island veterans.
"How do I obtain medical care on the Island?" tops the list. According to the fact sheet, veterans in Priority Group 1, who have a service-connected disability of 50 percent or higher, may apply for a Fee Medical Card. The card can be used towards primary care only at any Martha's Vineyard clinical treatment facility/clinician. To apply, contact the VA Hyannis Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) at 508-771-3190.
No dental treatment or specialty care is included in this authorization. Priority Group 1 veterans in need of special medical care may request an appointment at the VA Hyannis CBOC.
For veterans who are unable to travel to Hyannis for specialty care, their primary care providers may make a fee-basis request on their behalf. It must be approved by the VA in order for them to receive the care on Martha's Vineyard or at any non-VA medical facility.
Veterans in Priority Group 2 are eligible for a Fee Medical Card for "Service Connected Conditions Only." Otherwise, veterans who have less than a 50 percent service-connected disability in priority groups 2 through 8a, 8b, and 8c must seek VA primary care treatment through the Hyannis CBOC.
The fact sheet advises that in the event of a life-threatening medical emergency, a veteran should seek treatment at the nearest emergency room. However, it also includes the caveat that, "VA payment may be authorized for your local emergency treatment if it is medically determined that care was rendered in a life-threatening situation and VA facilities were not available to you. Specific rules and conditions apply."
Regarding the expired contract between the VA and MVH, the fact sheet states, "The Providence VA Medical Center has been in contact with the Martha's Vineyard Hospital and is reviewing options to ensure all eligible Veterans on Martha's Vineyard receive care similar to the community standard on the Island."
The fact sheet is available from Dukes County Director of Veterans Services Jo Ann Murphy and online at mvtimes.com. For more information, contact Ms. Murphy at 508-693-6887 or the Providence VA Medical Center's Patient Services at 401-457-3300.