Veterans

July 17, 2013

Army medicine, VA share focus on behavioral health concerns

Both the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs share a concern for soldier behavioral health, and are working together to further mutual goals.

As the war in Afghanistan winds down and Army medicine moves into the future, behavioral health concerns will remain one of the biggest challenges faced by the Army, said Surgeon General of the Army Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho.

And after 12 years of conflict, it’s not just service members who will face behavioral health challenges, it is their families as well.

As a response to that concern, Horoho said that Army Medicine has embedded behavioral health into military patient centers and medical facilities. Included in that, she said, is a focus on sleep, nutrition, and even brain health.

“It’s really a strategic vulnerability,” Horoho said. “We need to take care of our children today to make sure they are healthy mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally; to be able to serve in our nation’s military or within civilian industry.”

While the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, mandate focuses on transition assistance for veterans, the department has also been focusing on ensuring a solid foundation for families as they transition with their veterans, said John Medve, the executive director of the VA/DOD Collaboration Service.

“One of the areas we’ve been working very hard on is to make sure there is alignment between DOD programs and VA programs, so we can seamlessly move people across,” Medve said. “We have federal recovery coordinators who work to ensure families understand all the dynamics they need as they transition.”

Medve also said there is now an integrated mental health strategy that is the result of collaboration between the departments. Now, treatments and protocols are in synch and include VA representatives embedded in military medical facilities.

Horoho said that alignment is part of a strategy that puts patients first.

“We’ve looked at the disability process and have aligned DOD’s strategies, processes and standards with the VA, because we’re looking at a patient care experience and continuity of care,” Horoho said. “We’ve increased our capabilities to share records so disability from both the VA side and DOD are in synch, collaboration has definitely increased.”

Another area of collaboration between the Army and the VA is in tele-health, which Medve said is expanding in the VA.

“It’s clearly important for us, from the rural aspect, in trying to get mental health clinician services out to those parts of the country that aren’t serviced by a major metropolitan area,” Medve said.

The Army has been using tele-behavioral health and distance counseling for several years. The Army has even provided such services to remote command operating posts in Afghanistan, Horoho said.

“We use tele-behavioral health so that instead of waiting for service members to get back home to deal with something, they can deal with it right there in theater,” she said. “We find that our younger service members love it because that’s the world they operate in. But we offer both types of counseling, because some of our more seasoned Soldiers prefer face-to-face. We have both capabilities, it’s very effective.”

Army medicine is also working with the American Pediatric Association to look at how to put wellness into its pediatric clinics as well as primary care clinics, Horoho said.

Oftentimes, she said, a parent or child will show up at one of the clinics complaining of aches and pains. But the underlying problems may actually be anxiety, stress or family challenges, Horoho said. The Army wants to embed behavioral health in those teams.

Both Horoho and Medve spoke, July 8, during a presentation at the Military Child Education Coalition’s national training seminar, just outside Washington, D.C.

 




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


 
 

 

Headlines September 29, 2014

News: U.S. military limits warplanes used for Islamic State bombings - The U.S. is relying mostly on warplanes already positioned in the region for its air war against the Islamic State, as opposed to dispatching a major buildup of aerial forces that happened in previous campaigns.   Business: At DOD, it’s use-it-or-lose-it season - As fiscal 2014...
 
 

News Briefs September 29, 2014

Navy awards ship design grant to UNO The University of New Orleans has received a $210,000 grant from the Navy s Office of Naval Research to test information gathering and analysis techniques intended to improve warship design. The goal for warship designers is to produce a vessel that can be repurposed numerous times throughout its...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

TACP-M ties it all together

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Lealan Buehrer Tactical air control party specialists with the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron survey an enemy-controlled landing zone before calling in close-air support Aug. 14, 20...
 

 
Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler

Nellis aggressor squadron inactivated

Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler SSgt. Justin White signals to Maj. Sam Joplin to begin taxiing a 65th Aggressor Squadron F-15 Eagle to the runway Sept. 18, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base Nev. The roles and responsib...
 
 
Army photograph by SSgt. Mary S. Katzenberger

82nd Airborne helps commemorate 70th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden

Army photograph by SSgt. Mary S. Katzenberger A paratrooper assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, reflects near the grave of a British paratrooper at the Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Sept. 14, 2014, in the Netherlands. The...
 
 

Raytheon awarded $251 million Tomahawk missile contract

The U.S. Navy has awarded Raytheon a $251 million contract to procure Tomahawk Block IV tactical cruise missiles for fiscal year 2014 with an option for 2015. The contract calls for Raytheon to build and deliver Tomahawk Block IV cruise missiles to the U.S. Navy and U.K. Royal Navy. Raytheon will also conduct flight tests...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>