Veterans in five Sun Belt states now have access to Tenet Healthcare Corp.'s civilian facilities—an announcement that comes as lawmakers grapple with legislation to expand medical care outside the Veterans Affairs Department—and as the geographic mismatch of VA facilities to the veteran population draws more attention.
Dallas-based Tenet struck an agreement with TriWest Healthcare Alliance, in which veterans in Arizona, California, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas can receive specialty care, and potentially primary care, effective this month. Officials estimate about 1.8 million veterans live in Tenet's service area in those five states, where the system operates 41 hospitals, employs 600 physicians and encompasses dozens of outpatient centers.
The deal fills a growing need, as more veterans live in states below the Mason-Dixon Line. Of the approximately 20.8 million veterans living in the U.S., 9.6 million live in 14 Sun Belt states. Yet only about a third of the VA's 152 hospitals are located in those states.