ALAMOSA —Eastern CO Health Care System Director Sallie A. Houser- Hanfelder and her leadership team from Veterans Affairs spoke at the Veterans Coalition of the San Luis Valley annual event on Friday in Alamosa.
Houser-Hanfelder addressed many topics including President Donald Trump passing the Mission Act. The Mission Act was passed to improve veterans’ healthcare. More specifically, the issues this act will help to solve are in-network and other health problems, homes, appointments, prescriptions and more.
Houser-Hanfelder announced the ribbon cutting celebration of Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Aurora on July 21st. The hospital will be approximately 1.2 million square feet and include a spinal coordination center, making it the fifth stand up center in the nation.
“We will serve all of the veterans we already do,” Houser-Hanfelder said. “Plus, veterans from five surrounding states.”
Locally, The VA’s office has paired up with health providers in the San Luis Valley to allow more programs for veterans who live here so they have more resources available. A webinar will be set up for providers in the area with a step-by-step on how to sign up with the VA and be counted as a provider for them.
Houser-Hanfelder said this is not to make the VA privatized but to help more where it is needed.
“The goal is wrapping our communities along with the VA around the veterans and getting them the care where they need it, when they need it and how they need it,” Houser- Hanfelder said.
One of the changes made for those who are receiving help from the VA is Healthnet is ending so veterans will have a direct choice of over 130 medical providers they may need.
Along with a speaker, booths were set up around the room providing information about the different services they provided. They ranged from fly fishing trips to homelessness resources.
A big focus on one of the booths was the Rocky Mountain MIRECC for suicide prevention. Within the local area, MIRECC has been a big project for the veterans coalition to help as many people as they can. This focuses on the veterans and gives the help that is needed, but also sheds light on families and friends with lists and pamphlets showing the signs and symptoms.
“It takes the whole village to make this works,” stated Houser- Hanfelder.
Kristin Hicks is an intern at the Valley Courier this summer.