- Associated Press - Saturday, January 7, 2017

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) - A Devils Lake bus service and the local Veterans Affairs office are offering free rides to medical appointments for veterans of limited means.

Pat Hejlik, services director for Devils Lake Transit, said she knows of many veterans in the area who have no way of getting to a VA clinic for medical care.

“I know that there are many homeless veterans and veterans that cannot afford to go to the doctor,” Hejlik told the Devils Lake Journal (http://bit.ly/2iXkPKy ). “It’s the least we can do for our veterans,” Hejlik said. “We’re honored to serve them, and we hope more veterans will take advantage of it.”

Hejlik said Devils Lake Transit is picking up the cost of the voucher program, which began in November. The bus service also provides a voucher to those in the community on Medicaid who need to get to medical appointments, she said.

Veterans Resource Group spokeswoman Ellen McKinnon said she has concerns that veterans may have trouble coordinating medical appointments when Devils Lake Transit buses are available.

“That’s where we’re really lacking the resources,” she said. “The VA will give you an appointment that you waited for, for months, and if it doesn’t happen to fall on transportation day, then you have to find your own (ride).”

Though scheduling may be a problem, Hejlik says that Devils Lake Transit is willing to work with veterans in need of local rides to their medical appointments.

“We try to get them there as close to their appointment time as possible,” Hejlik said. “We work with them.”

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Information from: Devils Lake Journal, http://www.devilslakejournal.com

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