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Top 5 Reasons to Seek VA Care

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Carol Rogers, center, a volunteer at Roudebush Veterans Affairs Hospital in Indianapolis, ushers Soldiers of the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team through a post mobilization health reassessment. Rogers along with hundreds of other staff hosted the brigade as a part of an ongoing initiative to address health concerns of returning veterans. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Lesley Newport)

Dr. Emily Gilmore is a psychology postdoctoral fellow in the Trauma Recovery Program at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Maryland Health Care System

It has been my pleasure to serve veterans and service members as a VA provider for the past three years. As a service member, reservist, National Guard member or veteran, you may wonder, “What can the VA offer me?” Here are five reasons why you should consider seeking VA care:

1. Exclusive dedication to providing quality services for veterans and service members. It’s all we do. VA patients are serving or have served in the military and so has many of our staff. Our health care providers are nationally recognized leaders in treating polytrauma, chronic pain, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). For example, we have dedicated centers like:

2. Accessibility and continuity of care. VA facilities exist in every U.S. state and territory. The VA uses a national record, which means you can enroll in care and receive treatment at any VA facility in the country without needing to transfer records. VA offers telehealth (phone and Internet) services to improve access to care and connects veterans to online and phone resources including:

  • Veterans Crisis Line (800-273-8255) — a 24/7 confidential toll-free hotline for veterans and their families
  • My HealtheVet — once enrolled in this program, patients can refill prescriptions online and send secure messages to their providers
  • VA Caregiver Support Line (855-260-3274) — a telephone support service for family members who are providing care for veterans or service members
  • National Resource Directory — a comprehensive directory of services available to service members and veterans

3. Nationally recognized expertise in medical and mental health services.

  • Specialized medical care teams:polytrauma, organ transplantation, neurology, pain management, sleep, etc.
  • Primary care and pharmacy
  • Specialized mental health care for anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance use, TBI, sleep deprivation and sleep disorders, anger and pain management, etc.
  • Clinics dedicated to specific types of veterans:
    • Women’s clinics for gynecology, primary care and counseling services
    • OEF/OIF/OND clinics for service members, reservists, or National Guard members transitioning from active duty

4. Programs to assist with housing, employment, education, legal issues, homelessness, etc.

5. A lifetime of care and support. VA facilities serve veterans and service members from ages 18 to 95 and older. It can be hard to keep in touch with your fellow service members after discharge, but VA offers a place where you can build relationships with veterans of all eras and get the support you need.

The information I’ve included is only a small portion of everything available. For more information, visit www.va.gov or your local VA website (go to the main VA webpage, select “Locations,” pick your state, and then choose a facility).

I highly encourage you to seek VA services. All it takes is a visit to your local VA. It’s never too late to get started on caring for your needs.

The information contained in this article is solely the opinion of Dr. Gilmore and is not endorsed by the Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs.


Comments (6)

  • Luanne Pruesner 28 Nov

    Why can't we, as veterans, get Tricare???? Our VA's here in FL are overcrowded and understaffed, they all have hiring freezes!! Why must I be "stuck" with the rotten care I get from VA??? Plus, I have to drive an hour and a half away, really not fair!!
  • Dr. Galen M. Grant 28 Nov

    You must be living in some kind of fantasy world or you work in one of the VA hospitals that cares about providing quality treatment to veterans. As a retired, 100% disabled veteran and previous employee of the WJB VA Hospital in Columbia, SC I can say without reservation that the quality of care here is pitiful. In fact, it is diagnostic that I seek my care outside of the VA. And, I am entitled to full care! I advise veterans to do the same. An analogy of what happens here is "suppose we have enough resources to provide 100 colonoscopies. However, we are being required to do 200. What happens is no one gets quality of care. In fact, they are provided half-assed care!
  • John St.Romain 28 Nov

    I wish every Vet would be able to experience the care and treatment that I've gotten in the Alexandria/Pineville (Louisiana). The people are caring and very good at their jobs. I'm 100% disabled and now I'm also a cancer patient. My wife and I feel that the people at the VAMC are part of our family. We would be lost without them.
  • spence wainright 28 Nov

    good site
  • K.D. Frazier 28 Nov

    When I first signed up with the VA Healthcare system ; I was PROMISED that it included TOTAL / COMPLETE healthcare ... including scripts, eyecare, and DENTAL ! Boy was I surprised when I needed DENTAL and did not "qualify" for dental coverage ... and it has gotten worse over the years. THEN, recently I had an infection in my gums . The VA nurse in VA Triage told me to go to the E/R AND that the VA would pay the bill . However; the VA refused to cover the bill , so I'm stuck paying the E/R bill .... Total BULL SH** !
  • Loren Hanson 06 Dec

    I have accessed the VA healthcare system for over 17 years.  When healthy, the system is excellent.  All the proper primary care protocols for preventive and diagnostic care are followed.  The pharmacy service is very convenient.  When I developed heart disease and cancer I discovered that timely access to necessary care was not possible.  I now follow the VAs co-managed care model and it works quite effectively.  The Department of Veteran Affairs published a brochure on it in December 2010.

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