Minneapolis VA mobile clinic for elderly veterans highlighted in DC

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- The Minneapolis VA is taking center stage for their innovative health program at a summit in the nation’s capital. Our Washington Correspondent Alana Austin reports on how this program may revolutionize care for veterans in rural areas.

Veterans who need customized wheelchairs are receiving care from the Minneapolis VA's rural mobile clinic. (Source: CNN)

The Minneapolis VA is helping elderly and disabled veterans get customized wheelchairs in rural areas. Their new program is trying to eliminate gaps in service through mobile clinics.

“It’s definitely a clinic that we just really want to reduce any burden for veterans, especially as they’re aging," said Jessica Hollie, contract nursing home coordinator at the Minneapolis VA medical center.

Hollie says the staff has successfully reached 40 veterans so far in Minnesota and Wisconsin by using mobile clinics and digital health platforms. The veterans receive their customized wheel chairs without ever having to leave their nursing homes. This helps veterans avoid extra travel, appointments and wait times.

“Actually other VAs have started to look at our model and use it for their state veterans home," said Hollie.

Minneapolis is competing against other top-performing, innovative programs around the nation at a Veterans Health Administration competition this week. Doctor Ryan Vega says a common theme at this seminar is finding ways to prevent disease.

“If you start to think about the role of the health system and moving upstream in wellness, now you’re starting to see this idea of whole health,” said Dr. Ryan Vega, Veterans Health Administration's VA Diffusion of Excellence lead.

Hollie says another benefit of the mobile clinic is collaborating more directly with the contracted nursing staff to enhance care.

“I think the veteran population is going to continue to age, as with the baby boomers and everybody else, and so we just really want to be able to support our community partners as much as possible as they care for our veterans," said Hollie.

The Minneapolis program was picked as a top 15 finalist out of 500 programs that applied to this competition. It did receive the final stamp of approval to expand nationally out of this week’s conference – along with several other programs from among the finalists.

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