The agency is planning on soon offering primary care, basic radiology and basic laboratory services on the island.
Currently vets have to travel to the mainland and the VA has not had a contract with an entity to offer care for veterans on the island “for some time,” according to Medical Center Director Susan A. MacKenzie of the Providence office of the Veterans Administration Healthcare system.
The VA is going through the bidding process to put a contract in place with a local healthcare provider who can provide an array of services, she said.
MacKenzie said that while the service ramps up there are other options for vets.
While the contracting process goes through the legally required bidding process, all the eligible Nantucket veterans can seek emergency care at their local hospital. When that happens, the hospital will be reimbursed by the VA for this emergency care that they would receive locally.
She added, “Our Hyannis clinic will continue to provide scheduled appointments and they also make accommodations for unscheduled visits for the eligible veterans who live on Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard.”
Future offerings will include nutrition, mental health counseling, social services and dermatology, she said.
MacKenzie said the Providence center is responsible for providing healthcare for eligible veterans who reside on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
For several years, they’ve contracted with Martha’s Vineyard Hospital to, MacKenzie said, provide local medical care and they want to provide the same level of on-island care on Nantucket.
“We would mimic the same type of services that are provided [on Martha’s Vineyard]. We would also make sure they are provided on Nantucket,” she said.
Of the 148 eligible veterans on Nantucket, the VA currently treats 12 of the patients at their Hyannis clinic.
“So clearly we have an opportunity to treat additional veterans from Nantucket,” she said.