Project ARCH Will Give Local Primary Care For Veterans

Published 4:11 pm Tuesday, July 12, 2011

FARMVILLE – Eligible Farmville area veterans will be able to receive their primary care in Farmville from local healthcare providers, thanks to the Department of Veterans Affairs pilot program Project ARCH (Access Received Closer To Home).

The VA has announced it has contracted with Humana Veterans Healthcare Services and Farmville is one of five locations nationwide to participate in the pilot program.

Veterans are eligible, the VA explains, if they reside in and around Farmville and are enrolled in VA health care when the program starts.

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The other eligibility criterion requires that the veteran must live more than 60 minutes drive time from the nearest VA health care facility providing primary care services.

“They will receive their primary care there in Farmville,” ARCH Program Director Alan Lombardo, told The Herald Thursday afternoon. “…It's another avenue to receive care.”

Farmville and Pratt, Kansas are the two Project ARCH sites focused on primary care for veterans, according to Lombardo, which will include preventive care and diagnostics.

Lombardo explained that the requirement calling for the veteran to be enrolled in VA care prior to the start date of ARCH will be waived for those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan because they may not be classified as veterans yet.

Primary care VA doctors, such as those now serving local veterans at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, will receive alerts telling them which of their patients are eligible to receive primary care in Farmville through Project ARCH.

And veterans are urged to consult their VA physicians regarding eligibility to receive primary care in Farmville.

The VA, in such case, would continue paying for the medical care.

A press release from Humana Military Healthcare Services explains that “under Project ARCH, Humana Veterans will administer veteran healthcare servces needs closer to their home, contract management functions, as well as administrative services, including referral management, grievances, coordination of admission and discharges, and clinical quality improvement” in Farmville, Pratt, Kansas, Flagstaff, Arizona and Billings, Montana.

“We are honored to be chosen to provide health care services under Project ARCH to veterans residing in rural areas,” said Tim McClain, president and CEO of Humana Veterans in the press release. “Humana Veterans appreciates the tremendous responsibility of caring for our nation's heroes. We look forward to working closely with each VA medical center in Project ARCH to provide excellent service to each veteran referred to the pilot program.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs states that “the VA will ensure that participating veterans's treatment is closely coordinated between contracted providers and VA so veterans in the program experience seamless and quality health care whether receiving that care in their communities or at VA health care facilities. The Richmond VA Medical Center will oversee Humana Veterans Healthcare Services' activities through a rigorous monitoring program that tracks measures of clinical and administrative performance.”

Reacting to Farmville's inclusion in Project ARCH, Fifth District Congressman Robert Hurt told The Herald, “Our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much for our freedom and our country, and this pilot program is one way to try to help improve and expand access to quality health care for those veterans in Farmville and the surrounding areas by providing much-needed services closer to their homes.”

The program's start-up date, according to Lombardo, is “rapidly approaching.”

Again, veterans in the Farmville area are urged to contact their VA primary care physician regarding their eligibility in Project ARCH.