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VA Community Care Program works to get Vidant on board after transition

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Community Care Program provides veterans with an opportunity to received care from a community provider when VA cannot or is too far away. This care is provided on behalf of and paid for by VA.

In December of 2019, Optum transitioned to be a third-party administrator for the VA Community Care Network in North Carolina. Since then, Optum has collaboratively worked with VA to bring Vidant heath system into the Community Care Network, according to Aaron Albright, Optum external communications specialist.

“They are a priority health system and provide important health services to veterans,” Albright said.

Albright noted that while Vidant has yet to agree to be part of the network, both Optum and VA “continue to meet with them to encourage their participation.”

Mike Smith, business manager with the Hampton VA Medical Center, confirmed that they have been working to get Vidant on board. Smith said the Hampton VA had worked with Vidant prior to the transition, and they are doing their best to work with them again in the future.

“While we continue to work with Vidant to join the network, it is important to note other North Carolina large hospital systems have agreed to participate in CCN including Duke, Wake Forest, Cape Fear, HCA-Mission and Cone Health Systems, to name a few,” said Albright.

Smith said as far as the Community Care program for the Outer Banks region, veterans can receive the care they need through an in-network provider. Veterans should reach out to their local VAMC, where they can be advised of the providers in the Community Care Network. Veterans can find their VAMC location at https://www.va.gov/find-locations/.

The Veterans Advisory Council of the Outer Banks has been made aware of the situation and is actively looking into it. The council is hoping the situation is resolved as quickly as possible.

Brian Wudkwych, external communications specialist with Vidant, told The Coastland Times, “Vidant Health has and continues to serve the health care needs of veterans. In order to receive care covered by the VA, veterans can and do receive authorization from the VA.”

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