Returning veterans get priority access to VA health care

JOHNSON CITY -- The James H. Quillen VA Medical Center is encouraging veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to honor themselves this Veterans Day by visiting the facility at Mountain Home if they have any health care needs or concerns.
   "Returning veterans have priority access to health care at our facility," said Dr. Carl J. Gerber, Medical Center Director. "We want them to know they have a two-year time period in which they can access free VA health care for conditions related to their combat service."
   VA Undersecretary for Health Dr. Robert Roswell told Congress last month that each VA hospital has identified an individual to coordinate activities in support of returning service members. The Mountain Home Medical Center contact is Inger Blanton, Social Work Service. Blanton may be reached at 979-2625.
   "We are reducing red tape and streamlining access to health care services and VA benefits programs for these veterans," Roswell said.
   "Every military man or woman wounded, injured or ill from training for or fighting our war on terror receives priority at the VA," said VA Secretary Anthony J. Principi. "None of these heroes can 'fall through the cracks.'"
   "It is our job to provide continuity in care for these veterans, throughout their recovery, rehabilitation and return to civilian life," said John Dandridge, network director of VA hospitals and clinics in Tennessee, Kentucky and Huntington. "They have earned nothing less than first-rate health care, and we will provide it to them in each of our facilities."