By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4
As the Albuquerque VA tries to shorten long wait times for veterans, other hospitals are quick to offer their services.
You may have seen an ad in the paper over the past few days in the form of an open letter from the CEO of Lovelace Medical Group to New Mexico veterans. In the letter, Dr. John Cruickshank said vets deserve access to health care in a timely manner and he wants vets to know they have options.
So he points vets to a program called the Lovelace Care Concierge Program.“The development of the program predates the issues that the VA is having right now,” he said.
The service is free and the idea is to help veterans schedule doctor appointments quickly, even if those doctors are not with Lovelace.
Cruickshank said the team can also answer veteran's questions about their health care options.
“The Lovelace Concierge team is helping the veteran navigate the veterans system.” He said.
While the program isn't related to the growing scandal about wait times at the VA, the new ad campaign is. Lovelace is also mailing out 17,000 fliers to active and retired military members. Cruickshank admits they're targeting veterans who may be having problems seeing a doctor at the VA and don't know where else to turn.
“I think we're going to be seeing something soon in regards to a definitive statement on allowing veterans access to non-VA providers. That's really what we're waiting on now.”
In most cases Dr. Cruickshank said patients can be seen the same or next day at Lovelace.
“It's a collaborative effort. It's the right thing to do and certainly as a veteran it's near and dear to my heart.”
For more information on the program click here: http://www.lovelace.com/content/care-concierge