Collins, bipartisan group introduce bill to help veterans in rural areas access VA health care

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jon Ossoff, D-Georgia, and John Thune, R-South Dakota introduced the Rural Veterans Transportation to Care Act, a bipartisan bill that would help veterans living in rural areas get transportation to VA and VA-authorized healthcare facilities to access the benefits they’ve earned through their service.

“In Maine – a large, rural state with one of the highest number of veterans per capita – only veterans living in Piscataquis County are eligible for this important grant program that provides transportation to VA and VA-authorized healthcare facilities,” said Collins. “By expanding program eligibility to include more highly rural areas, this bipartisan bill would allow veterans in additional Maine counties to gain access to these transportation services.”

More specifically, this legislation would expand eligibility to the VA’s Highly Rural Transportation Grant Program, which provides grant funding to veteran service organizations and state veterans service agencies to provide transportation in eligible counties. The HRTG Program is currently only available to counties with fewer than seven people per square mile – and in Maine, that limits the program to only Piscataquis County. This bill would expand the VA’s definition of rural areas to ensure more counties are eligible for the grant program. The bill would also increase the maximum amount grant recipients are eligible for from $50,000 to $60,000, or up to $80,000 for grantees to purchase an ADA-compliant vehicle.

According to the VA, more than six in 10 veterans in Maine reside in rural areas. There are roughly 2.8 million veterans in rural areas across the country who are enrolled in and rely on the VA’s health care system.  

The complete text of the bipartisan Rural Veterans Transportation to Care Act can be read here at

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.