The Department of Veterans Affairs announced it is ready to implement a big piece of the Veterans Administration’s Mission Act on time and without major mishaps. Under the Mission Act’s new criteria, roughly 40 percent of the military veterans population will be eligible now to see a doctor within the community – as opposed to the 8 percent of veterans who can use the department’s disparate community care programs now.

Under the VA’s new access standards, veterans can see a community provider if they’ve been waiting more than 20 days for primary, mental health and non-institutional extended care services, or if they face a 30-minute drive to the nearest VA facility. Average drive and wait times tick up to 60 minutes and 28 days for certain kinds of specialty care under the administration’s proposed regulations.

The previous legislation, the Veterans Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, allowed veterans to visit a community provider if they lived 40 miles away from the closest VA medical facility or if they had been waiting 30 days or longer for VA care. Unfortunately, the Redding VA Medical Clinic lost several medical providers following the CARR Fire in Redding during the summer of 2018, and wait times for appointments have increased. With the roll out of the VA Mission Act, qualifying Tehama County veterans will have options of receiving medical care from local medical providers.

The new Redding VA Outpatient Clinic held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday May 29, and is expected to be completed in July 2021. This new Outpatient Clinic is located at 3455 Knighton Road in Redding across from the Veterans Home of California.

The new 100-thousand square foot $50 million-dollar VA Outpatient Clinic will consolidate many of the VA facilities around Redding into one medical campus and will also be adding specialty care clinics. These new expanded specialty clinics will include radiology, two gastrointestinal suites, and speech pathology. Tehama County veterans have been required to travel to specialty clinics in Sacramento and Martinez in the past for these services; however, one of the goals with this new campus is to offer specialty care locally for our veterans.

Veterans or family members wishing to apply or receive additional information should contact the Tehama County Veteran Service Office.

The Tehama County Veteran Service Office assists qualifying veterans and their dependents in receiving benefits. We offer Tehama County Veteran ID cards and maintain a list of Tehama County veteran friendly businesses. Please see our website below to view our business list. Please contact our office if you would like to receive a Tehama County Veteran ID card or to add your business to our list. There are many state and federal benefits and programs available to eligible veterans and their dependents. To find out if you are eligible for any of these benefits, call the Tehama County Veterans Service Office 529-3664. Our VSO website is http://co.tehama.ca.us/veterans-s-services.

Dependent College Fee Waivers can be submitted to us or make an appointment with Kersti Hemming at our Red Bluff office. Please allow two weeks for our office to process the college fee waivers. Documentation necessary prior to the appointment are the Veteran’s DD-214, dependent’s birth certificate or if spouse, marriage license, VA rating disability letter and the dependent’s IRS or Franchise Tax Board (FTB) income verification for the previous year. Please plan ahead on these packages as the VSO will not be able to approve these packages on the same day as the appointment. Thank you for your support.

The VSO is in the old courthouse Oak St Annex, 444 Oak St., #C, Red Bluff. Office appointment hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, closed from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch. The Red Bluff Office is by appointment only. Corning VSO walk-ins are at the Veterans Memorial Hall 9-11 a.m. every Tuesday of the month. Los Molinos VSO walk-ins are at the Los Molinos County Center at 7883 Highway 99E the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. DMV forms for “Veteran” designated on your driver’s license are available at all VSO offices. We are looking forward to meeting you or seeing you again on your return visit.

Thank you for your support to our veterans.

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