Some interest in VA contractAs the deadline for the closing of the Dickinson community-based outpatient clinic looms, a state Veterans Affairs official said Thursday there has been interest regarding the contract to provide veteran medical care.
As the deadline for the closing of the Dickinson community-based outpatient clinic looms, a state Veterans Affairs official said Thursday there has been interest regarding the contract to provide veteran medical care.
After Great Plains Clinic, PC in Dickinson chose not to renew its contract with Veterans Affairs, which expires May 1, two options were given to veterans who require care after that date, including being temporarily relocated to another VA clinic or allowing veterans to receive primary care through a private provider after receiving VA authorization.
Great Plains Clinic will not be honoring VA authorizations for care, said Mark Grove, GPC administrator.
Grove declined further comment.
The VA clinic has been in Dickinson for about three years and it is estimated it serves about 800 southwest-area veterans.
Peggy Wheelden, public affairs officer for the Fargo Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said she is not aware of any private entity that has declined to honor VA-authorized primary care visits.
The deadline for interested parties to submit a bid for the VA contract is April 30. While Wheelden said there is interest, she said she doesn’t have any additional information on who the parties might be and where they are located.
Wheelden said veterans must contact the VA and receive authorization prior to booking an appointment at the private clinic of their choice. Payment for services provided to veterans will be handled directly at the VA, she added.
“They (veterans) let us know where they would like to go, and then the billing is submitted to us here and then we pay for it here,” Wheeldon said. “We have been getting calls (from Dickinson-area veterans).”
Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said Thursday the situation is “unusual.”
“I’ve visited all the other clinics and they all seem to be doing well,” Dorgan said. “My hope is this will get resolved and we don’t have any future problems.”
Dorgan announced in a press release Tuesday that he has been in contact with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki regarding the clinic.
“I asked him to personally monitor this,” Dorgan said. “I’m really hoping we can get the secretary and the VA to very quickly find a new contractor, somebody who will be around for a while.”