Reaching Our Tribal and Rural Community
By Fernandez “Dez” Scott
Richmond VA Medical Center two Rural Health Programs created to deliver Health Education, Health Services and Care, to Veterans living in rural central Virginia communities.
The Native American team provides primary care services through the use of a mobile clinic to care for Native American Veterans living on reservation or tribal lands. During the visit the team provides clinical services to the Chickahominy, Pamunkey, Mattaponi, East Chickahominy, Upper Mattaponi and the Rappahannock tribes.
Since the establishment of the Native American team, the mobile clinic patient list continues to grow. Through regular visits to the tribal communities, the Native American team has established strong relationships with the Native American Veteran while participating in Tribal Ceremonies and annual Pow-wows.
The Rural Health team provides health education and enrollment services. The team coordinates outreach events at a wide array of community and state events include fairs, festivals and Veteran Service Organizations throughout central Virginia.
In April 2010, the team began their community outreach to Veterans. Since that time, the Rural Health team continues reach many Veterans who had never applied for VA health care. To date, over 800 individuals have worked with the team. The program has partnered with other programs such as the Virginia Wounded Warriors Project, the Women Veterans Program, Health Administration Services, Salem and Hampton VAMC, and the MyHealtheVet team and several others to enhance the outreach possibilities to Veterans and their families.
The community outreach staff includes a team that provides operations and support, enrollment information, nurse education, social workers and pharmacy, offering participants a variety of services to meet their health care needs.
The team operates a 40’ mobile clinic which is outfitted to perform most of the same functions as a doctor’s office. The rolling clinic logged over 7,000 miles last year attending outreach events.
The outreach efforts have been an exciting initiative for the medical center. Veterans from as far north as Stafford and the Northern Neck, to Halifax and Boydton, Virginia, have received clinical services and education and new Veterans have enrolled into the VA health care system.