Our Area Veterans Totally Deserve Project ARCH

Published 8:59 am Tuesday, August 9, 2011

An arch, the dictionary tells us, is a structure that spans a space while supporting weight.

A doorway, for example, in an otherwise barricading stone wall.

Project ARCH, a pilot program named Access Received Closer to Home, is designed to give qualified local veterans the ability to receive their primary care here in Farmville.

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ARCH, in its own way, would span a space while supporting weight.

And our veterans totally deserve that.

They have spanned the most difficult of spaces, supporting the heaviest of weights, on our behalf.

We don't need a dictionary to tell us that.

The VA recently announced it has contracted with Humana Veterans Healthcare Services and Farmville will be one of just five locations across the United States of America to participate in a program we hope will prove so successful that it spreads like sunrise throughout the entire land.

Veterans are eligible, the VA explains, if they reside in and around Farmville, are more than 60 minutes drive time from the nearest VA health care facility providing primary care services, and are enrolled in VA health care when the program starts.

Veterans living in Buckingham and Cumberland, and elsewhere nearby, should very definitely check their own geographic and drive-time eligibility. Goodness knows you have earned it. Please do so.

Our nation has too often lacked some of the key qualities of an arch for returning veterans, especially those who have been wounded, physically or emotionally. Anything we can do to be an arch for them through every would-be wall must be done and we commend the Department of Veterans Affairs and the VA for undertaking this Project ARCH pilot program.

Veterans should indeed be able to receive the medical care they need in their home communities, if those services are available locally, and have that care paid for by the government just the same as it would have been at a VA medical facility. The Farmville community is lucky enough to have medical facilities and professionals fully capable of providing the care our veterans need and deserve.

The VA has not released all of the specific details and we urge our veterans to contact the VA or their VA doctors about their eligibility through Project ARCH to receive primary medical care in Farmville. Primary care VA doctors, like those 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, according to the VA. But ask. Don't wait.

Humana Military Healthcare Services explains in a press statement sent to this newspaper that “under Project ARCH, Humana Veterans will administer veteran healthcare services 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.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, meanwhile, states that “the VA will ensure that participating veterans' 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.”

Humana Veterans president and CEO, Tim McClain, pledged that, “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.”

And, again, we urge veterans in Buckingham and Cumberland to contact the VA and their VA primary medical provider to determine if they are considered to be in the Farmville area covered by Project ARCH.

There is not a veteran who does not deserve to pass through this Project ARCH. They have passed through everything else for us.

For the US that is us all.

God bless them with our support of the small weight necessary to span the space for them, each of us part of the doorway that is the least that we can do.