Why Sanford Health is Launching New Veterans Program

Details of a new GAO report further proof additional care programs are needed

On a day the Government Accountability Office hears details of why the Department of Veterans Affairs is failing to report 90 percent of poor-performing doctors to national and state databases, a local veteran tells KDLT news that he’s incredibly grateful for a new program being launched by Sanford Health for veterans.

“It’s long overdue,” he said.

Sanford Health announced earlier this fall, a new Department of Veterans and Military Services to streamline and add resources for veterans, military personnel and their families across the health system’s region. The head of the new program, Paul Weckman, a veteran himself, invited the public to the VFS in Sioux Falls to talk about why the program is needed and who they hope it will help.

“A lot of people don’t know that there are over 22 million veterans in the U.S. today but only six million go to the VA for care and treatment. So 75 percent go to community providers like Sanford. Just think of the sacrifices they’ve endured. And we want to make sure they’re taken care of,” said Weckman.

The new initiative includes a clinic area solely for veterans, other military personnel, and their families. It should be open to patients in 2018. The program also aims to help veterans identify wellness services, family support services, and employment services.