The New Jersey Veterans’ Hospital Task Force issued its final recommendations for expanding health care access for military veterans living in the southern part of the state. The centerpiece of the task force’s recommendations is the creation of a pilot program which would allow for veterans to receive care at local hospitals using Veterans’ Affairs credentials. Created by legislation signed into law in 2011, the task force was charged with studying and developing recommendations for constructing and operating a veterans’ health care facility in southern New Jersey, or for contracting with an existing health care facility to provide services to veterans.
Currently, there is no federal Department of Veterans Affairs inpatient veterans’ medical center in southern New Jersey. The VA has established small clinics in Northfield, Cape May and Vineland, however, they are only equipped to perform certain types of outpatient medical services, and often are overwhelmed by the large number of veterans seeking care. As a result, veterans are often forced to travel long distances for their health care needs, including to East Orange, Wilmington, Delaware, or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.