Union Community Health Center
January 2021 – January 2022
In recent years, veterans have increasingly relied on health care provided in the private sector (i.e., in non-VA settings).
Since 2015, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has increased the amount of private care it purchases for eligible veterans, from 20% of all appointments to more than 30%. Additionally, the passage of the Mission Act in 2018 streamlined eligibility standards, increasing the number of VA patients who are eligible to receive private care. Despite this trend, an NYHealth-funded RAND Corporation report found that only 2% of private providers in New York State fully met readiness criteria for effectively serving the veteran population. To improve provider readiness, the RAND report recommended increasing provider understanding of and engagement with the VA, improving provider screening practices, and increasing provider familiarity with military culture and service-connected health conditions. In 2020, NYHealth awarded Union Community Health Center (UCHC) a grant to help address these gaps by developing a model to better facilitate coordinated care between community health centers and the VA. UCHC is the only federally qualified health center (FQHC) in the Bronx that is authorized to provide urgent/rapid care outside of a VA clinic or hospital and that is eligible for VA reimbursement.