SAVAHCS announces community engagement events, new initiatives, and volunteer opportunities

Tucson, AZ – The Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) is pleased to announce several upcoming events, new initiatives, and volunteer opportunities designed to enhance support and services for Veterans.

Homeless Summit: On Tuesday, July 9, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, SAVAHCS will host its 13th Annual Homeless Summit. This event will take place in-person at Building 4, Conference Rooms A and B, and virtually through WebEx.

Virtual Veteran Engagement Fair: Scheduled for Tuesday, July 16, from Noon to 1:00 p.m., this fair will provide information on VA Travel Pay Reimbursement and Whole Health Programs. The event will be accessible via WebEx.

Quarterly Congressional, VSO, and Stakeholder Meeting: Join the SAVAHCS Director on Tuesday, July 30, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. for updates on SAVAHCS operations and VHA initiatives. This meeting will also be held virtually through WebEx.

Volunteer Opportunities: SAVAHCS is actively recruiting volunteers for various positions, including Ambassador Patient Transportation, Van Drivers, In-Home Visitor Program Volunteers, and more. Interested individuals can contact Kristina Blake at (520) 629-1822 or email [email protected] for more information.

VA Expanding Health Care Eligibility: Beginning March 5, 2024, all Veterans exposed to toxins and other hazards will be eligible to enroll directly in VA health care. This includes those who served in the Vietnam War, Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other combat zones after 9/11.

ARP Refund Overpayments: VHA has identified an error in processing refunds related to the American Rescue Plan period. Veterans who received duplicate refunds will receive letters and Bills of Collection from the West Consolidated Patient Account Center.

Whole Health Program: SAVAHCS continues to promote its Whole Health approach, offering personalized health plans and self-help skills in areas such as Mindful Awareness, Nutrition, and more.

CMS Star Rating: SAVAHCS recently received a 1-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services due to an error in readmission rate calculations. Corrective actions are underway to ensure future ratings reflect the high-quality care provided.

VA Travel Pay Reimbursement: Efforts are ongoing to address the travel reimbursement backlog, currently at 11,287 claims. Additional staff and extended work hours are being implemented to expedite processing.

VA Budget Concerns: There is no VA enterprise-wide hiring freeze, and SAVAHCS is fully funded through Fiscal Year 2025. Strategic spending reviews are in place to ensure budgetary solvency.

Recent Events:

  • Pride Parade: Celebrated diversity and inclusion for LGBTQ+ staff and patients.
  • Women Veterans Recognition Day: Honored contributions of women Veterans.
  • Juneteenth Lunch and Learn: Celebrated Freedom Day with special presentations.
  • American Legion AZ State Convention: Provided VA program information.
  • First Nation Group Donation: Supported SAVAHCS Veteran Sports programs.
  • MMU Ribbon Cutting: Launched a new Mobile Medical Unit for community deployment.


New YouTube Channel: SAVAHCS has launched a YouTube channel featuring Veteran interviews, facility updates, and educational videos.

PACT Act: Expanded VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to toxic substances. Over 51,450 Veterans have been screened for toxic exposure as of June 28.

Construction Updates:

  • Mental Health Building 90: Expansion and renovation projects are ongoing, with expected completion by September 2024.
  • Roof Repairs: Work on Buildings 50, 60, 78, and 90 continues, with completion anticipated in August.
  • Emergency Department Expansion: Construction bids have been received, with an award expected by September 2024.


WWII Veterans Health Care Eligibility: Recent legislation ensures that WWII Veterans are now eligible for VA health care. Veterans are encouraged to apply even if previously deferred.

Mental Health Copay Exemption: VA is canceling and refunding the first three mental health and substance use disorder copays each year between June 2023 and December 2027.

COMPACT Act: Veterans in acute suicidal crisis can receive free emergency health care at VA or community facilities.

Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 988, then Press 1 for confidential crisis support available 24/7.

Virtual Health Resources: Veterans can connect with health care teams via telephone or video appointments and use MyHealtheVet for routine healthcare needs.

Did You Know? Primary Care, Mental Health, and Specialty Care appointment wait times can be found at the Access to Care website.

A Matter of Balance Program: This program helps reduce fear of falling and increase activity levels. For more information, contact Rogan Adams at (520) 792-1450, extension 1-4051.

For further details on any of these announcements, please visit our website or contact the relevant SAVAHCS department.

Contact Information:

Community Partners