Veterans fight for healthcare |

Veterans fight for healthcare

Talia Milavetz
Created: April 28, 2020 06:00 PM

(ABC 6 News) - One Rochester veteran hopes Vice President Mike Pence heard her voice during his visit to Rochester Tuesday. 

“I have stage five kidney failure. It’s a hereditary disease,” said veteran and community activist Jessica Bates. 

 Bates moved to Rochester for its well-known world-class health care. 

 "In that time, the MISSION Act was basically being written and signed by the President,” she said.

 In 2018, President Trump signed the MISSION Act into law, an effort to make health care more accessible to Veterans. 

 But care at Mayo Clinic is not covered for all veterans under the MISSION Act, making it difficult for some, like Bates, to get the specialization they need. 

“Now I bought a house here and I can’t even get local specialty care,” she said. 

 She said those who don’t qualify for care at Mayo Clinic have to travel to the Twin Cities. 

 “All of us dialysis patients were going to have to travel to Minneapolis in order to get dialysis three or four days a week,” she said.

But she got lucky. 

 “They did come to an agreement. I know it can be done because they did come to an agreement for that thank goodness,” she said.

In a statement, Mayo Clinic said they’ve been working with the Department of Veterans Affairs for months to find an agreement that would allow them to participate in the new VA Community Care Program. 

 “We are pleased to share that the organizations have identified synergy between the new community care program and the Mayo Model of Care and have come to mutually agreed-upon terms; however, the final details with the third-party administrators are still being finalized,” the statement read. 

 They hope the agreement will be enacted this summer. 

 But Tuesday, Bates held up signs outside the clinic, to grab the Vice President’s attention and hopefully move things along faster. 

 “There’s just so much up in the air right now and medical care is what people need right now,” she said. 

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