Cumberland Times-News

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May 18, 2009

Transition from Re-Entry smooth

Veterans Behaviorial Health Advisory Board briefed on provided services

FROSTBURG — Members of the Maryland Veterans Behavioral Health Advisory Board and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown were briefed on the services provided by the Martinsburg (W.Va.) Veterans Affairs Medical Center when they met at Frostburg State University on Monday.

Ann Brown, director of the Martinsburg center, presented information about transportation, the facility’s hours of operation, services and fee-basis centers.

“We have volunteer vans which take patients from Cumberland, or Keyser (W.Va.), to Martinsburg if needed,” she said.

Patients who have morning appointments and are capable of getting on and off the van on their own may ride the vans. However, Brown said the center is working on initiatives to improve transportation services.

“All of the vans are run by volunteers,” she said. “But we are working on ways to raise the level of service with the vans.”

Wilbert Forbes, deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, asked if the vans have ever had to address issues with a patient in a wheelchair. Ann Brown said no, but the medical center does provide beneficiary travel, funding for the patient to travel to the clinic. The mental health staff also works to get the patient to the medical center when a special mode is identified.

The director also spoke about the Cumberland Community-Based Outpatient Clinic and the need to be open later during the week. Cumberland’s clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The new schedule will expand Tuesday and Wednesday hours to 8:30 p.m.

She updated the board on the status of the transition of veterans being seen at Re-Entry Associates to the Cumberland clinic.

“Our goal is to see all new referrals in 14 days of contact; 30 days for established and new patients with service-connected issues or non-service connected issues,” she said. “And we’re doing good; we’re at about 97 percent for seeing patients within this time frame.”

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