The Under Secretary of Health for the VA will host a Veterans Town Hall Meeting at Cary Medical Center in Caribou on Tuesday. 

The Chief Executive of the Veterans Health Administration, Dr. David Shulkin along with other VA staff including Ryan Lilly, Center Director of the Togus VA Medical Center will host a Veterans Town Hall Meeting at Cary Medical Center on Tuesday morning May 3rd beginning at 9:15 am. Cary officials say the time of the meeting has been changed due to scheduling constraints.  U.S. Senator and Caribou native Susan Collins also plans to attend.

Dr. David Shulkin tours a patient care unit at VA Pittsburgh/USVA

All veterans and guests are invited to attend. Project ARCH (Access Received Closer to Home) will be among topics of the meeting.

The ARCH program has been operating at Cary Medical Center since 2011. Cary is one of five sites nation-wide to offer the ‘Pilot’ program. Some 1,600 Veterans have utilized the program at Cary with some 17,000 medical appointments.

The ARCH program is set to expire in August, 2016. However, recently a two-year extension of the program was included in the fiscal year 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs spending bill that was passed unanimously by the Appropriations Committee, according to United States Senators, Susan Collins and Angus King. The measure now awaits consideration by the full Senate.

Veterans are eligible to participate in the ARCH Program if, among other criteria, they reside more than 60 minutes’ drive time from the nearest Veterans Administration health care facility providing primary care services or more than 120 minutes’ drive time from the nearest VA facility providing acute hospital care.

The ARCH program provides the opportunity for Veterans to utilize the specialty services at Cary Medical Center including surgeries, hospitalization and other hospital based services. Historically Veterans from Aroostook County faced long drives to the Togus VA Medical Center, some 500 miles round trip, for routine medical services.

Caribou VA Clinic

In 1987, the VA established the first Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) on a community hospital campus at Cary Medical Center. The clinic provides primary care and other health services. In addition to accessing services closer to home the ARCH program allows for ill Veterans to avoid the long drive to Togus and to recover at home close to family and friends. The program also saves the VA Health Care System the high costs of travel.

A 30-Bed Long Term Care Facility and a 40-Bed Residential Care Facility directed by Maine Veterans Homes are also located on the hospital campus.

Maine Veterans Home and Residential Care Facility Caribou

In 2011 Cary Medical Center received the Award of Honor from the American Hospital Association for its work to improve health care services for rural Veterans.

 

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