Veterans To Receive Help From St. Thomas

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NASHVILLE (May 3, 2016) — Saint Thomas Health has announced a partnership to provide care through the Veterans Choice Program, giving veterans the choice to receive care at Saint Thomas Health locations throughout Middle Tennessee.   As part of Ascension, the nation’s largest nonprofit healthcare system and the world’s largest Catholic health system, Saint Thomas Health joins 23 other states and the District of Columbia in sustaining and improving the health of individuals and our communities by serving as an official provider of Veteran Care outside the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Now qualified U.S. veterans who face wait times in excess of 30 days at the VA or have to travel farther than 40 miles from their home can receive care from Saint Thomas Health doctors at more than 80 sites of care in the region.

“Our desire is to help provide easy access to care for these most deserving of individuals,” Karen Springer, Saint Thomas Health President and CEO said.  “Everyone agrees that our veterans deserve the best that we can give them.  When the VA services are inaccessible or are delayed for our veterans, we want to be able to be there to provide compassionate and holistic care for them.”

The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 established funding to pay for healthcare services provided to veterans by private healthcare providers. Through the partnership, Saint Thomas Health physicians and other caregivers are authorized to provide primary care, inpatient and outpatient specialty care, and mental health care for eligible veterans outside of VA.

“We’ve had discussions with our local VA leadership and with TriWest Healthcare to ensure ease of access to our services by qualified veterans.  As part of Ascension, we’re committed to providing compassionate, personalized care for all with special attention to those persons living in poverty and who are most vulnerable.  Right now, no population is more vulnerable and deserving of our compassion and support than our nation’s veterans” Springer said.

Ascension has established a contractual agreement with TriWest Healthcare, a federal contractor to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. As a Veterans Choice Program contractor, TriWest is designated by the VA to implement the Veterans Choice Program and provide eligible veterans access to care in their community when the local VA facility cannot readily provide care.

Nearly 9 million veterans received the Veterans Choice Card. Use of the card is strictly voluntary; veterans who qualify for VA healthcare can continue to receive care at a VA medical facility as they have in the past. The program will end when the allocated funds of $10 billion are used or no later than August 7, 2017.

Veterans can determine eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program at http://www.va.gov/opa/choiceact/ or by calling the number on their Choice Card, 1-866-606-8198.

U.S. veterans, Saint Thomas Health patients and caregivers who are interested in learning more about the Veterans Choice Program are encouraged to visit www.ascension.org/veterans.

ABOUT SAINT THOMAS HEALTH

Saint Thomas Health is Middle Tennessee’s faith-based, not-for-profit health care system united as one healing community.  Saint Thomas Health is focused on transforming the health care experience and helping people live healthier lives, with special attention to the poor and vulnerable. The regional health system includes nine hospitals: Saint Thomas Hospital for Spinal Surgery, Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital and Saint Thomas West Hospital in Nashville, Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro, Saint Thomas Hickman Hospital in Centerville, Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital in Smithville, Saint Thomas Highlands Hospitalin Sparta, Saint Thomas River Park Hospital in McMinnville and Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital in Woodbury. A comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities complement the hospital services and cover a 68-county area. Saint Thomas Health is the Tennessee ministry of Ascension, the largest not-for-profit health system in the United States. For more information, visit www.STHealth.com.

About Ascension

Ascension (www.ascension.org) is a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care. As the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, Ascension is committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. In FY2015, Ascension provided nearly $2 billion in care of persons living in poverty and other community benefit programs. Approximately 160,000 associates and 36,000 aligned providers serve in 2,000 sites of care – including 137 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 24 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to healthcare delivery, Ascension subsidiaries provide a variety of services and solutions including physician practice management, venture capital investing, investment management, biomedical engineering, clinical care management, information services, risk management, and contracting through Ascension’s own group purchasing organization.