Knight pilots new program for veterans to receive local care

Signal File Photo: Congressman Steve Knight speaks about his work in Washington during a public meeting. Dan Watson/For the Signal

Congressman Steve Knight, R-Palmdale has initiated a new program with the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand health care options for former service members who live in regions underserved by V.A. hospitals, according to a news release from Knight’s office Friday.

The program allows access to local walk-in urgent-care clinics for veterans receiving V.A. healthcare access if they cannot be seen by a local V.A. clinic in a timely manner.

The new program lets veterans stay in their local communities to have their basic healthcare needs met, allowing them the option to use walk-in clinics after-hours, on weekends or if the local V.A. clinic is booked. Previously, veterans had to wait until their local V.A. clinic could schedule an appointment and have to travel to Los Angeles for care.

Non-V.A. urgent care clinics in areas, such as the Santa Clarita Valley, will be integrated for the official launch of the pilot program in the coming weeks.

“The current status quo in which we force our veterans to endure unacceptable wait-times, excessive travel distances, and a sea of bureaucracy cannot continue,” Rep Knight said in the release. “By opening up options for care right in their backyards, this pilot program will allow our local veterans to get the treatment they need in a timely and accountable manner. his will dramatically improve the quality of life for our region’s veterans.”

This program is the first in the nation to utilize home-grown urgent-care facilities to expand healthcare coverage for veterans. The concept for this program was initiated by a public-private partnership idea that would use trusted urgent care facilities in the area to meet veteran healthcare demand.

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