Veterans on the East End will now be able to get their health care closer to home.
Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead was approved Tuesday as a member of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Choice Program, which allows veterans to get healthcare from non-VA hospitals and clinics.
The hospital Peconic Bay Medical Center along with its affiliated physician offices and Urgent Care Facility in Manorville are all approved Choice Program facilities, according to a news release issues Wednesday.
While a veteran’s clinic is open at the Riverhead County Center, its hours are limited. Local veterans who need specialized or comprehensive medical care typically have to travel to the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Congressman Lee Zeldin, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said veterans who take advantage of the opportunity will still be able to visit VA doctors and hospitals as well.
“Since the beginning of the year, I have been working closely with Peconic Bay Medical Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs to increase access to care for veterans who live on Long Island’s East End,” he said. “Peconic Bay Medical Center, as an organization under the VA Choice Program, is an important new healthcare option for veterans, while still allowing them to continue receiving other services and ongoing treatment at the VA Hospital in Northport.”
In order to be eligible for the program, a veteran must either have been waiting more than 30 days to receive healthcare at a VA medical facility or must live more than 40 miles away from a VA medical care facility, or is faced with substantial travel burdens. Veterans east of the Long Island Expressway exit in Calverton will be eligible under the distance requirement.
“Creating medical access and assisting with travel time for the Veterans on the East End is a benefit to our community,” said Andrew Mitchell, president and CEO of Peconic Bay Medical Center. “We are excited and proud to be able to offer convenient healthcare access to our deserving Veterans.”
Additional information on eligibility is available by phone at 1-866-606-8198 or online here. PBMC can also be reached directly at 631-548-6827.
Photo credit: Katharine Schroeder