Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
New Veterans Transportation Service Making an Impact
On March 1, the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center (JCMVAMC) began a new service to provide transportation for Veterans with special needs and those without transportation to and from outpatient appointments.
The Veterans Transportation Service (VTS) is a new pilot program which is open to all Veterans enrolled at the medical center, but top priority will be given to Veterans with disabilities, wheel-chair bound, cancer patients and those who are at a high risk for suicide.
“Some of our Veterans have difficulty getting to their appointments due to lack of transportation or due to a medical condition,” said Mindy Underwood, Administrative Officer for the VTS. “This new program will help ensure our Veterans get the care they need and deserve and help reduce barriers for Veterans to get to and from their outpatient appointments.”
U.S. Air Force Veteran Lyle Hoop, who lives in Wagoner, cannot drive to his appointments at the medical center and was one of the first Veterans to utilize the VTS program.
“My Dad has to come down from Tulsa to pick me up and that’s 110 miles round trip,” he said. “I come once a week and I wouldn’t be able to (make appointments), because of my foot, until you guys started this program.”
Hoop praised the new service and said it will save lives.
“If you know anything about Oklahoma, it’s still pretty rural and this is the best thing you can do for the Veterans,” he said. “The older Veterans out on the farms can’t get in here and you’ve probably already saved a few lives.”
Along with JCMVAMC, the Vinita and Hartshorne VA Outpatient Clinics are also offering the service. Veterans can schedule transportation through their VA primary care provider or by calling the VTS call center at 918-577-3500 or toll free at 877-905-4538.
JCMVAMC is one of four VA’s chosen to pilot this new program. In the next couple of months, the program will be offered at 22 other VA’s and will be VA-wide by 2015.