Reaching Out to Older Veterans in Need: The Elko Clinic Demonstration Project

Authors

  • Meghan Juretic MS,

    1. Rural Health Resource Center—Western Region, George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Salt Lake City, Utah
    2. Department of Educational Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
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  • Robert Hill PhD, ABPP,

    1. Rural Health Resource Center—Western Region, George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Salt Lake City, Utah
    2. Department of Educational Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
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  • Marilyn Luptak PhD, MSW,

    1. Rural Health Resource Center—Western Region, George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Salt Lake City, Utah
    2. College of Social Work, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
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  • Randall Rupper MD,

    1. Rural Health Resource Center—Western Region, George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Salt Lake City, Utah
    2. Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Salt Lake City, Utah
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  • Byron Bair MD,

    1. Rural Health Resource Center—Western Region, George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Salt Lake City, Utah
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  • James Floyd ACHE,

    1. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Heartland Network VISN 15, Kansas City, Missouri
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  • Brian Westfield NP-C,

    1. Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Walla Walla, Washington
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  • Nancy K. Dailey MSN, RN-BC

    1. Rural Health Resource Center—Western Region, George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Salt Lake City, Utah
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  • Funding for the clinic was provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Affairs Office of Nursing Services. The authors would also like to acknowledge the Great Basin College, Nevada State Office of Rural Health, and Elko County Commission for their partnership in establishing the Elko Telehealth Outreach Clinic. For further information, contact: Randall Rupper, MD, George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 500 Foothill Drive 182, Salt Lake City, UT 84148; e-mail Randall.Rupper@va.gov.

Abstract

Context: The challenge of providing meaningful health care services to veterans living in rural communities is a major public health concern that involves redefining the traditional facility-based model of care delivery employed in urban areas.

Purpose: This paper describes the steps of a demonstration project, the Elko Telehealth Outreach Clinic. The clinic, located in Elko, Nevada, was created to meet the health care needs of veterans who expressed a desire for greater access to VA services.

Methods: The Elko Telehealth Outreach Clinic is a specific example of the real-life implementation of the community-as-partner model as an operational framework for coordinating local, regional, and VA resources. The Elko Clinic provides a limited set of health care services including medication management, health education, prescription refills, routine lab tests, and specialty services through telehealth.

Findings: From December 2006 to December 2007, a total of 84 unique veterans received health care services through the Elko Clinic.

Conclusions: Our findings support the usefulness of an expanded community-as-partner model to guide a process for addressing the health care needs of veterans in Elko, Nevada, and they have implications for the development and maintenance of outreach clinics in other rural settings.

Ancillary