Newswise — Recently, an agreement with United Healthcare/OPTUM and Rush Health was signed, giving veterans an option in their health care choices as they seek care for services that may not be available at their area Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Veterans can now access care at Rush University Medical Center, as well as Rush Oak Park and Rush Copley.

This new agreement is effective June 1st, in which the Veterans Affairs Community Care Network (VA-CCN) will offer veterans the choice to seek health care services that they cannot be receive at their  VA medical center.

This deal was made with United Healthcare/OPTUM who was awarded the contract of administrator for the VA-CCN in the Illinois market. The VA-CCN plan is only available for veterans themselves and currently has 228,375 Illinois veterans enrolled.

While veteran’s will normally receive care from VA hospitals and their physicians, sometimes  services are not available, the VA may not have an appointment time open or the veteran lives too far away from a facility. This where Rush steps in. Instead of forgoing a service or putting one off until later, Illinois veterans can now come to Rush for their medical care.

Veterans will be able to receive care by getting a referral form for a VA-CCN provider but this new agreement will also cover emergency room care.

This brings a new opportunity for Rush and its Road Home Program to provide lifesaving care for this country’s veterans.

William Beiersdorf, director of the Road Home Program at Rush, spoke to the importance of this new agreement, for both Rush and Illinois veterans.

“Any opportunity where we can expand our services for veterans and family members is big win for both Rush and our veterans,” Beiersdorf explained. “It further cements our relationship with the VA.”

The Road Home program provides help to those readjusting to normal life after deployment. This includes offering confidential support, counseling and veterans' health services. Road Home also helps veterans’ families, including counseling for parents, spouses and children.

Road Home is now taking the steps to reach out to VAs through the area to let veterans know about Rush’s new relationship with VA-CCN.

“We look at this as an opportunity to fill those (health care) gaps,” Beiersdorf said. “At the end of the day it really is a win-win for all of us, especially the veterans. It gives them options; it gives them choices.”

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