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.


 
 

 

VA expands Fry Scholarship to surviving spouses of service members who died on active duty

The Department of Veterans Affairs will begin accepting applications by mail Nov. 3, 2014, for the Fry Scholarship under newly expanded eligibility criteria to include surviving spouses. The expanded criteria for the Fry Scholarship is the latest in a series of VA actions to implement provisions of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of...
 
 
Army photograph by Sgt. Ryan Hallock

The long road home: Lewis-McChord honors Vietnam veterans

Army photograph by Sgt. Cody Quinn Former and current service members gather together during Vietnam Veterans Salute Day, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Oct. 9, 2014. The event was held to honor Vietnam veterans by giving ...
 
 

VA processes more than 1.3 million veteransí claims in fiscal 2014

More than 1.3 million Veterans received decisions on their Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation and pension claims in fiscal year 2014 ñ the highest number in VA’s history, surpassing last year’s record-breaking production by more than 150,000 claims. This second year of record-breaking production comes as VA continues to transform the way it provides...
 

 

Obama: Move heaven and earth to care for disabled vets

With the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, the nation commemorates for the first time the two battles disabled veterans have fought – the battle over there and the battle at home – the battle to recover, President Barack Obama said Oct. 5 during the dedication ceremony. Congress approved the building of the memorial with...
 
 

VA wards contract for independent assessment of health care

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Oct. 1 that the MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit company that operates multiple federally funded research and development centers, has been awarded a contract to support the Independent Assessment of VA health care processes, as required by the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014. MITRE Corporation will serve...
 
 
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...
 




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>