Military veterans will have guaranteed access to basic healthcare within 24 hours at Riverside County Regional Medical Center, and will be seen within 72 hours at all specialty clinics, the hospital’s chief pledged Tuesday (June 3).
“Veterans, you have given tremendous service to our nation,” RCRMC’s Interim CEO Lowell Johnson said in an address to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. “We are unfortunately all too aware of the shameful display of services not being given to you.”
Johnson’s pledge to provide prompt healthcare to veterans comes amidst national outrage over revelations that thousands of veterans were placed on secret lists and forced to wait several months for appointments through the federally operated veterans’ healthcare system.
“I want to deliver a message to every veteran – You are welcome at RCRMC. We have the capacity to serve our veterans,” Johnson said, adding the same guarantee of care extends to veterans who are homeless and without financial resources. “No one will be turned away.”
Johnson said the hospital has established a new phone line (951-830-8025) specifically to answer veterans’ calls. The line will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with timely follow up to messages left over the weekend.
“If you don’t get a call back, then you can call me at (951) 486-4470,” Johnson said.
Riverside County is home to about 250,000 veterans and March Air Reserve Base, the world’s busiest Reserve Air Force installation. County leaders have made veterans issues, including healthcare, housing and employment, a top priority as veterans returning from service grapple with the challenges of reintegrating into civilian life.
"At a time when there is much concern nationwide about our veterans' ability to access necessary medical care, I am proud of RCRMC's willingness to make this guarantee to serve our local veterans promptly,” 1st District Supervisor Kevin Jeffries said.
Board certified, fellowship-trained physicians at RCRMC stand ready and willing to serve those who have served the United States of America, CEO Johnson said.
“RCRMC doctors and nurses have one goal: ‘Heal the Sick,’” Johnson said. “Everything else is noise.”