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Hinojosa unveils sign allowing vets to access health care at VBMC

November 16, 2016

HARLINGEN — It’s official.

Yesterday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa visited Harlingen’s Valley Baptist Medical Center to unveil a sign that lets veterans know they can access heath care through the facility.

In September, Hinojosa was in Harlingen to announce a new program, which he and many others worked on to provide improved and more timely care to veterans.

The plan and ideas introduced through this program could become a model used across the country to address improving local care, access and payment processes.

During 90 days leading up to the September announcement, the VA worked with hospitals and other health care providers to cut the denial rate of claims from 50 percent to 10 percent.

These remedies were needed just a couple years after Congress created the Choice program in response to the wait time crisis. It allowed veterans who are waiting 30 days or more for a VA appointment or have to travel 40 miles for care to seek it from providers in the community, like Valley Baptist.

There are several aspects to refining the processes, such as ensuring provider claims are paid on time, while increasing quality and timeliness of health care provided close to home for Valley veterans.

Among the issues recognized during the 90-day review by Hinojosa and his team, including VBMC CEO Manny Vela, included mainly bureaucratic and paperwork problems that required additional training.