New Program Streamlines Eye And Ear Care For Veterans

Jun 1, 2015

The White River Junction VA Clinic has been selected as one of three such clinics nationwide to participate in a new pilot program that attempts to streamline eye and ear care for veterans. 

The name is kind of a mouthful: The Audiology and Optometry Direct Scheduling Pilot Program.

Simply put, it shortens the path veterans need to follow to get care for their eyes or ears.

Veterans used to have to see a VA primary care physician first, before getting referred to a VA eye or ear doctor. That was a problem for veterans who already had a PCP at civilian hospitals. The PCP also needed to refer them, which added weeks to their wait times.

Now, if they’re registered with the VA, veterans can simply call the clinic and schedule an appointment.

Becky Rhoads is Chief of Audiology at the VA in White River Junction. "The seven steps have now gone to one step," she says. "We'll get you scheduled, go from there." 

The program is scheduled to last four months, but Rhoads says she’s confident it will be extended beyond then.