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Newly passed law will provide accessible heath care to veterans

Posted at 5:58 AM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-20 08:17:08-04

HARKER HEIGHTS, TX — A newly passed law will helping veterans receive faster care instead of waiting for the VA to provide care. The Mission Act was passed on June 6, 2019.

When veterans needed access to care for minor symptoms, it would sometimes take days before the veteran could be seen at the VA. Long wait times and some driving even 40 plus miles to visit their primary care doctor at the VA brought frustration to some.

Thanks to the Mission Act, the VA has now partnered with community clinics to help provide care for those minor symptoms. Unlike the VA, where walk-ins had to fight with other patients who needed further care, local clinics offer speed and convenience without having to make an appointment.

Freedom Urgent Care in Harker Heights is one of the many that are offering care. While it's only been two weeks since the act has been passed, they are already seeing an influx in patients.

"First one was either seen on the sixth or the seventh, and we've seen a few every day almost every shift I've been on we've seen a couple," Dr. Jay Mckenna said.

McKenna is a veteran himself, he wanted a way to continue to help serve not only his community, but his brothers and sisters as well.

"One of the reasons we opened up this place here in this location is to be able to take care of soldiers and their family members and now we're able to do that and it's nice," Mckenna said.

Luis Rodriguez served in the military for nine years. Rodriguez lives in Copperas Cove, and having to make a 45 minute commute to the VA in Temple was already a daunting task. Waiting was even worse.

"It's like a godsend to me - I've been struggling traveling over there taking buses sometimes asking friends to take me to the VA," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez would even pass on visiting the doctor when he had a sore throat because he didn't want to deal with the drive.

Symptoms that qualify for the no-wait policy include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Wheezing
  • Sprains
  • Sore throats
  • Painful urination
  • Bumps and bruises
  • Ear pain
  • Minor skin issues

For more information on the guidelines of the Mission Act and to find a urgent care near you visit this link.