Native American Veteran care and benefits were at the center of a Nov. 20 Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on Capitol Hill.
Secretary Robert Wilkie told Congress there are two areas that can help Native American Veterans – expanding telehealth and more benefits events.
“One solution we have pursued is telehealth,” he said. “VA has its own telehealth facilities in the western states – Alaska, Montana, Oklahoma and Wyoming – and they are helping us to get care to Veterans who don’t live that short drive away from a VA facility.”
On the benefits side, Wilkie said VA hosted 30 claims events, assisting more than 1,000 Native American Veterans from 24 tribes in the past year.
Wilkie said one of his priorities is reaching out to rural and Native populations, who make up 31,000 active duty and 140,000 Veterans.
“Our pledge at VA is to continue to work with tribal governments to face the unique challenges that accompany life of America’s Native communities,” he said.
Wilkie said VA works with Indian Health Services to make sure Native American Veterans get the care they need.“It’s our mission to make sure all Native Americans know that this VA belongs to them as well,” he said.Native American Veterans can access the VA-IHS Consolidated Mail Order Pharmacy Program, which sends prescription medications directly to Native homes, Wilkie said. Last year, the program processed 840,000 prescriptions for Native Veterans, up 17 percent from the previous year.Native American Veterans also receive VA care through benefits, helping them on issues like […]