Veterans

August 19, 2016
 

VA provides service dog benefits to Veterans with mental health disorders

VA-dogs1
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Aug. 18 that it is piloting a protocol to implement veterinary health benefits for mobility service dogs approved for Veterans with a chronic impairment that substantially limits mobility associated with mental health disorders. 

“We take our responsibility for the care and safety of veterans very seriously,” said VA Under Secretary for Health, Dr. David J. Shulkin. The Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to providing appropriate, safe and effective, compassionate care to all veterans. Implementing the veterinary health benefit for mobility service dogs approved for veterans with a chronic impairment that substantially limits mobility associated with mental health disorders may prove to be significantly beneficial for some Veterans. The Service Dog Benefits Pilot will evaluate this premise.” 

VA has been providing veterinary benefits to veterans diagnosed as having visual, hearing or substantial mobility impairments and whose rehabilitation and restorative care is clinically determined to be optimized through the assistance of a guide dog or service dog. With this pilot, this benefit is being provided to Veterans with a chronic impairment that substantially limits mobility associated with a mental health disorder for whom the service dog has been identified as the optimal way for the veteran to manage the mobility impairment and live independently.

Service dogs are distinguished from pets and comfort animals because they are specially trained to perform tasks or work for a specific individual with a disability who cannot perform the task or accomplish the work independently. To be eligible for the veterinary health benefit, the service dog must be trained by an organization accredited by Assistance Dogs International in accordance with VA regulations.

Va-dogs2

Currently, 652 veterans with approved guide or service dogs receive the veterinary service benefit. This pilot is anticipated to provide the veterinary service benefit to up to 100 additional veterans with a chronic impairment that substantially limits mobility associated with a mental health disorder.

The VA veterinary service benefit includes comprehensive wellness and sick care (annual visits for preventive care, maintenance care, immunizations, dental cleanings, screenings, etc.), urgent/emergent care, prescription medications, and care for illnesses or disorders when treatment enables the dog to perform its duties in service to the Veteran.

Additional information about VA’s service dog program can be found at http://www.prosthetics.va.gov/ServiceAndGuideDogs.asp.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

High Desert Hangar Stories

Courtesy photograph The end of the story, the final resting place of 1st Lt. Joseph Fluty in the Visalia District Cemetery. Lockheed remembers one of its own: Mac comes home When researching history, it’s often hard to not be...
 
 

WW2 remains coming home for burial

Remains of four Tulare county Air Force men who died in the European theater during World War II are being returned aboard the U.S. Army Transport Lawrence Victory, the army announced today. Aboard the ship are the bodies of S/Sgt. Donald S. Coday, son of Harve E. Coday, 144 East Honolulu street, Lindsay; 1st Lt....
 
 

Final Doolittle Raider’s tradition of honor, legacy of valor celebrated at memorial

Air Force photograph by Tristin English Attendees bow their heads during the invocation at a memorial service for retired Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” E. Cole at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, April 18, 2019. Cole, the ...