Pilot Program To Let Area Veterans Receive Care At Centra Southside

Published 4:31 pm Thursday, October 7, 2010

FARMVILLE – The Herald has learned Farmville has been selected by the Veterans Administration for a pilot program that will allow area veterans to be treated at Centra Southside Community Hospital by their primary care physician and the VA will pay for the treatment.

The Herald confirmed the VA's decision Thursday morning, though no official announcement has been made by the VA.

What it means to veterans is that they won't have to travel to Richmond or Roanoke for treatment but can be treated in Farmville.

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For Centra Southside Community Hospital, it means extra business and service to the community.

“Your sources are solid,” Fifth District Congressman Tom Perriello confirmed Thursday morning, responding to The Herald during a quick break from action on the floor of the House of Representatives.

“We have fought very hard on the committee” for the pilot program, Rep. Perriello said of the House's Veterans Committee. “The theory I pushed is to bring health care to the veterans instead of the veterans having to travel to the health care, particularly for rural veterans.”

Rep. Perriello said “the heroes and veterans in Farmville” deserve to be able get their “primary care locally…”

As do all veterans deserve local access, he believes, hoping the Farmville pilot program will prove so successful that it is expanded in the Fifth District to Halifax.

“…We're certainly excited for our veterans around Prince Edward. It's a great local victory but also a broader victory for veterans (everywhere) to start from the standpoint of how can we make it as easy as possible to receive healthcare instead of putting up hurdles.”

When told of Rep. Perriello's confirmation of the Farmville pilot program, Centra Southside Community Hospital President and CEO, Dr. Gwen Eddleman, described it as “wonderful news. We are excited with the potential and look forward to working with all of the veterans, the VA and local officials to bring this new veterans benefit to reality as quickly as possible.”

Rep. Perriello believes the pilot program will be implemented “fairly rapidly…Months, not years. We want to work with Centra and the local docs to make sure we do this…

“…This is just going to be an amazing advance in access to health care for local veterans,” Rep. Perriello said, calling it “something that will reflect more of a 21st Century approach.”

And at a time of particularly crucial need.

With veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and with the aging population of Korean and Vietnam War veterans, in addition to tough economic times, Rep. Perriello said, “it is particularly important that we find ways to expand access to health care and using existing primary care facilities is a great way and I pushed very hard for it…

“…We're glad Prince Edward got the first cut.”