May 4, 2017

Veterans in New Jersey Being provided more options for healthcare

After years of GI Go Fund and other advocates fighting to get veterans better care, New Jersey takes an important first step for military veterans

(Burlington County, NJ) An important step was made for veterans to gain greater access to health care, as the State of New Jersey just announced a program with Cooper Medical Center and the Deborah Heart and Lung Center to provide improved access to specialty care for active and retired military personnel and their families.

The program, called HeroCare Connect, was established to be a “vital new medical link” for active duty military stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Burlington County. It will supplement the primary, gynecological and pediatric care currently available on base. When active duty military and their family members need specialty care, HeroCare Connect will act as a concierge service to get them the care they need in a timely manner. Through the program, military patients who are referred for specialty care will be able to see a specialist within 24 to 48 hours.

HeroCare Connect will also provide specialty care to veterans who access their primary care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, working with the Veterans Choice Program to ensure that veterans are being treated in a timely fashion, close to home.

“You should schedule care with a watch, not with a calendar, and the fact of the matter is you need a calendar today,” said Democratic Rep. Donald Norcross of Camden during a ceremony at an American Legion hall in Burlington County. He was joined by Gov. Chris Christie, Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur of Toms River and numerous hospital, military and local officials.

The program is another important milestone for veterans, who have been struggling with inadequate and delayed health care service from the VA for decades. Organizations like GI Go Fund and other advocates have long been fighting to give veterans the access to all care providers that can help them with their health issues. This struggle reached a tipping point during the disclosure of the long wait times veterans were dealing with at the VA, which lead to the Veterans Choice program being implemented.

“This is important for veterans, to keep moving the ball forward towards better care,” said GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous. “Veterans have long been waiting for the day that they can have a full range of options when it comes to the health care, and this program is an important step to give veterans a person to speak to that can guide them towards the doctor they need.”

HeroCare Connect is intended primarily for members of the military and veterans in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties. A Cooper spokesman said the program is open to all veterans, including those with private insurance.