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Federal agencies team up on veterans' care

Two federal agencies signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday to improve services to rural American Indian and Alaska Native veterans.

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services will team up to share information and develop health programs. The agreement allows for joint appointments, financial reimbursements and provider certification.

"VA and HHS are setting the stage for an ongoing collaboration to provide optimal health care for more than 165,000 American Indian and Alaska Native veterans," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi.

“Our two departments have a history of working together to care for America’s veterans and underserved communities,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson said.

The agreement was formalized at the winter session of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in Washington, D.C. Principi and Thompson were represented by their deputy secretaries.

Relevant Links:
Indian Health Service - http://www.ihs.gov
Department of Health and Human Services - http://www.hhs.gov
Department of Veterans Affairs - http://www.va.gov

Related Stories:
Bush initiative to be scrutinized by Congress (02/18)
Principi salutes Native veterans (2/23)

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