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Sparse Access to VA Healthcare Across the Nation

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As more and more veterans find themselves in need of healthcare following service in both Iraq and Afghanistan, it becomes more and more important for this care to be readily available for every former servicemember upon their return home. Unfortunately, new data from the spatial-analytics firm Esri shows that healthcare covered by Veterans Affairs is not as accessible as we may think.

This interactive map shows the average travel times it takes for those living in various areas of the country to get to the nearest VA Healthcare facility. The blue areas show a drive time of 45 minutes or less to a VA facility, and the red areas show a travel time of 45 minutes or more.

There are some apparent trends in the lack of access. For example, red tends to appear in rural areas, in the south, in the Pacific Northwest, in the Rocky Mountain area, and in sparsely populated large states such as Montana and Nevada. In an emergency situation, a 45-minute drive or more could lead to worsening conditions.

New rules have been proposed to allow those with VA healthcare to use a private healthcare facility if they don’t have a VA healthcare facility within 30 minutes of where they live. The current rule gives access to private healthcare if someone lives more than 45 minutes away from a healthcare facility. While this would give more accessible healthcare, it still does not address the problem of a shortage of VA healthcare facilities.

In addition to basic healthcare facilities being hard to access, there are many other obstacles that veterans often face in this regard, including disability compensation, claims, and appeals. This is where VetLaw’s team of attorneys can help you get the care you need.

Our VA-accredited lawyers have knowledge of the systems through which former servicemembers must navigate to receive the treatments and medications they may need. VA healthcare can be difficult to obtain given all the requirements and eligibilities that must be fulfilled, so call our team of dedicated lawyers today to ensure that you have an experienced professional on your side who knows the proverbial ropes.