WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Rep. Mike Michaud, Ranking Member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, has announced that rural veterans in Maine will benefit from a new pilot program that is awarding a $2 million grant to the Maine Department of Labor. The program -- the Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot (RVCP) -- was originally included in the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010. Michaud helped pass the legislation and served as the Ranking Member of the Health Subcommittee at the time.
RVCP aims to help rural veterans and their families as they transition from military service to civilian life. The funds can be used to help increase coordination of healthcare services and benefits for veterans; increasing the access to and availability of mental healthcare services; strengthening outreaching to veterans and their families; and providing targeted support for the families of transitioning veterans.
"I'm extremely proud that rural veterans in Maine will be able to benefit from this new pilot program, particularly as it relates to the transition from active military service back to civilian life," said Michaud. "Veterans deserve access to high-quality healthcare services and benefits, regardless of whether they live in a rural area or a big city. That's why I'm glad we have taken so many steps during my time in Congress -- from the creation and recent renewal of Project ARCH, to this new RVCP pilot program -- to make services and benefits as accessible as possible for our rural veterans. I look forward to seeing this program implemented here in Maine."
RVCP is the latest enhancement in VA services Michaud has secured for Maine veterans. Earlier this year, Michaud ensured the renewal of Project ARCH (Access Received Closer to Home) as part of his work on the larger VA reform legislation. ARCH allows veterans in Northern Maine to receive healthcare services at Cary Medical Center in Caribou, rather than journeying hundreds of miles round-trip down to Togus. Michaud originally brought ARCH to Maine in 2011.
In addition to RVCP, the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 includes another provision authored by Michaud -- a program aimed at supporting the family members and caregivers of wounded veterans. Michaud's provision in the law creates a support infrastructure for those who care for a wounded veteran, including: expanded education and training on caring for veterans in the home environment; counseling and support services; respite care; and mental health services.