It is no secret that many US vets who need help with mental health issues have not been able to get that help through the normal VA healthcare channels. Finally, a solution may be in the works as the VA is finding help with outside health agencies. It was reported recently that the VA is talking with various private hospital networks in the US to offer thousands of vets mental health care, free of charge.
The program is scheduled to begin in 2016 and is called the Warrior Care Network. The network was actually founded with a $70 million grant through the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization. The program will begin with four major medical centers whose mission will be to diagnose, rehabilitate, and set up care models for vets. Part of the program will be to find the best treatment options for those suffering from post-traumatic stress and mild forms of traumatic brain injury.
At the same time, a GAO report stated that the VA is still not providing the level of care that veterans need in a timely manner. Some VA healthcare facilities are still not tracking wait times for appointments, thus resulting in long wait times for many veterans. Many believe that this continuing problem is a sign that the VA is simply overwhelmed and must seek outside help.
This new program is said to be able to handle between 3000 and 4000 vets per year. It will offer vets two forms of outpatient care and treatment. The first will be based on routine visits with a local private doctor or therapist; the second involves flying vets to one of the centers for a 2-to-3 week program which would include thorough examinations, diagnosis of the issue and a program of treatment. This second option is based on what active duty military members receive. Upon release, the vet would be returned home and continued care would be supplied there.
The network will include: the Home Base Program at Massachusetts General in Boston; Emory Healthcare’s Veterans Program in Atlanta; the Road Home Program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and Operation Mend at UCLA Health in Los Angeles.
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