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Background: The State of North Dakota received funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

What: The ND Department of Veterans Affairs (NDDVA) requested part of the ARPA funding be used to facilitate transportation to medical appointments for veterans in rural areas not currently serviced by US Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) transportation programs.

Why: There are veterans in the state residing in rural areas that do not have the means or resources to travel to medical appointments at VA Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), VA Medical Centers, or VA Care in the Community based appointments. Many do not qualify for VA travel reimbursement or cannot afford to wait for reimbursement.

When: A grant was awarded to the NDDVA during a special legislative session in November 2021. Funds were made available December 1, 2021 and will be available through December 31, 2024 or until exhausted. This pilot program will start no later than February 1, 2021 with the hope the results will show a broader need than what is currently provided by USDVA programs.

Who: NDDVA currently works with several transportation providers utilizing the USDVA Highly Rural Transportation Grant and is contacting these providers to determine their interest in expanding their services. However, the rules set by this grant will greatly expand accessibility to areas of the state not currently eligible for current USDVA options and we are reaching out to transportation providers in these areas.

Providers that provide transportation services within a 10-mile radius of the Fargo VA Medical Center or Bismarck, Dickinson, Devils Lake, Grafton, Grand Forks, Minot, or Williston CBOCs are encouraged to contact the NDDVA to establish a relationship and provide their services to our rural veterans.

How: Veterans residing outside a 10-mile radius of the Medical Center or CBOCs are eligible. Participating transportation providers submit a monthly invoice and other data to the NDDVA. NDDVA will then provide payment for services rendered to eligible veterans.

Contact Dan Thorstad, Grant Coordinator, at 701-298-4691 or drthorstad@nd.gov if interested or for more information.

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