While VA hospitals are dealing with long wait times, Fort Campbell’s health system has excess capacity. Blanchfield Army Community Hospital has reopened its facilities to a limited number of retirees for the first time in a decade. Enrollment was cut off to veterans in 2004 because so many doctors and nurses were deployed to the Middle East.
Now, Col. Ned Appenzeller says the post has hired more primary care providers and created space by using more telemedicine. He says there’s room for 1,500 military retirees and maybe more in the future.
“We love having them come back," Appenzeller said. "It’s great for our young soldiers to interact with those that have served before them, sort of the footsteps that they’re following behind. There’s a lot of wisdom. There’s a lot to be gained by having veterans and their families here with us.”
To be eligible for care on post, retirees have to be on a TRICARE Prime insurance plan and live within a 30-minute drive. Fort Campbell officials expect lots of interest since the closest VA hospital is in Nashville.
Currently, the post health system serves 72,000 active-duty soldiers and their families.
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