BETHESDA, Md., Nov. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 400,000 veterans seek care at Community Health Centers for services and their numbers have steadily increased over the past five years. During the pandemic, veterans have been able to access COVID vaccinations and tests at health centers and also receive other critical primary care services, such as behavioral health, social services and dental. The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) works in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure the unique needs of the men and women who served in our nation's military are met. Highlights of the NACHC/VA partnership include:

Facilitating veterans' access to care through the "Community Care" program. The program allows veterans to receive care from a community-based provider if the wait for an appointment at a VA provider is over 20 days or drive time is more than 30 minutes. It also enables veterans to receive affordable urgent care services from non-VA providers -- including health centers.

NACHC also participates in a dental access pilot program known as "VETSmile" launched last July. The program connects VA-enrolled Veteran patients who are ineligible for VA's limited dental services to community dental care providers – including health centers. Two of the four initial community providers that have signed on as partners are health centers.

NACHC also provides training and technical assistance to health centers aimed at helping them optimize screenings and services to effectively respond to the evolving health needs of veterans. NACHC is continuously developing webinars and information directed toward veteran care, and facilitating an informal networking and information group of health centers to share promising practices, policy updates and operational information.

"Veterans who have served and sacrificed for our nation should have access to quality and affordable health care without having to stand in line," said Tom Van Coverden, NACHC President and CEO. "Health centers remain committed to working with our federal partners, the VA, veteran service organizations and state and local Veteran Affairs offices to ensure that veterans can access any services they need to stay healthy in these challenging times. We are proud that health centers not only serve veterans, they also employ them at numerous sites across the country."

To learn more about health center resources for serving veterans please visit this link.

Established in 1971, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) serves as the national voice for America's Health Centers and as an advocate for health care access for the medically underserved and uninsured.

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SOURCE National Association of Community Health Centers

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