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VA Team visits American Samoa; encouraging Veterans to access earned benefits

HONOLULU, Hi. —James E. Hastings, MD,  Director, VA Pacific Islands Health Care System and Tracey Betts, Director, VBA Honolulu Regional Office conducted a comprehensive visit to American Samoa last week.

During their visit, Dr. Hastings and his team met with several officials and Veterans on island to provide updates on VA services.  The Director discussed the need for Veterans to enroll at the American Samoa Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) to enhance service delivery, as healthcare teams expand.

The recent addition of a new CBOC primary care physician offers more opportunities for Veterans to access VA care. In addition to the primary care physician, plans are underway to fill mental health provider positions. There are no plans to reduce services at the clinic but rather, to continue expanding the comprehensive services offered to address and meet the needs of our Veterans in American Samoa.

Approximately 800 Veterans of an estimated 4,000 Veterans on island are enrolled at the CBOC. The visit was another opportunity to conduct outreach and education throughout the community in hopes that more Veterans will access the care [via enrollment], which they have earned, through their military service.

Enrollment is completed by bringing in proof of military service (e.g. DD214) and a valid ID.

Enrollment figures are used to evaluate how additional funds are allocated throughout the VA and within the Network (region). Funding is also allocated to support additional programs and services, based on the numbers and needs of the respective Veteran community. 

Enrollment is free; it does not cost anything. Our Veterans have nothing to lose and everything to gain, by signing up. For more information about registering for VA benefits and services, please visit  www.va.gov or contact our local VA CBOC, VA Vet Center or State Office of Veterans Services.

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND  INFORMATION:

The VA provides health care at little or no charge to more than 5 million Veterans annually. Medical services are provided through the inpatient and outpatient facilities run by the Veterans Health Administration. Although Veterans from recent conflicts will represent a fast-growing share of enrollments in VA health care over the next decade, the share of VA’s resources devoted to the care of those Veterans is projected to remain small through 2020, in part because they are younger and healthier than other Veterans served by VA. However, health care costs per person are expected to continue increasing due to inflation making it even more important for Veterans to enroll.

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(Source: DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS; VA Pacific Islands Health Care System)



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