- Posted July 9, 2014 by
Los Angeles, California
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Elliott Broidy Supports The Changing Model of Veterans Care
Providing quality care for wounded veterans is an issue with broad support. There is little debate that soldiers should have easy access to physical, mental and emotional support. However, how to efficiently deliver this care is where the gridlock starts.
The recent controversy over delays at V.A. hospitals reflects how world class medicine may not always translate into superior care. As more soldiers return from wars on multiple fronts, the pressure on V.A resources could become more severe.
So, how will veterans care adapt in the coming years?
Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and policy changes will be crucial to avoiding shortfalls in care for vets. Wounded Warrior Project is a national VSO turning the ‘top down’ model of veterans care upside down. By delivering veterans support services at a local level; WWP helps soldiers thrive at a physical, emotional and career level.
Here are examples of how this is occurring:
V.A. benefits may not cover certain services. Medicine may treat lost limbs and injuries, but what about quality of life after care? Programs that provide support services for limited mobility, PTSD and war injuries make the transition easier. This includes adaptive sports and family support.
More VSOs are starting local chapters that make it easier for vets to get support. WWP recently launched the Independence Program (IP) to help wounded soldiers who rely on their families and caregivers for regular care. Injuries to the brain and spine are common examples of this situation.
Donors and sponsors from across the country are localizing veterans care. Recently, support from Executive Producer Elliott Broidy helped WWP expand initiatives in his native Los Angeles. IP brings the national resources of Wounded Warrior Project to veterans in local communities. Families can receive respite care, emotional support and connect with others in their area.
Adaptive sports allow wounded vets to expedite their recovery and regain independence. Independence Program organizes activities that allow veterans to improve their physical and emotional fitness. Sports such as sled hockey, kayaking and track activities allow injured soldiers to regain their independence, even if for a brief time. The activities also help veterans stay motivated in their rehabilitation at hospitals. In this way, adaptive sports make typical therapy more effective.
Government hospitals are starting to work more closely together for veterans needs. Policymakers just struck a deal that allows wounded veterans to receive care from Medicare approved doctors and other government programs. While the policy focuses on physical injuries; similar moves to treat rising cases of PTSD and other trauma may be imminent.
VSOs are helping wounded veterans make better sense of complex V.A. benefits. Many soldiers do not understand what is covered under their benefit plans. The constant shifts in policy make this even more difficult. WWP offers benefits counseling that allows soldiers to maximize the resources available to them.
Some veterans are at a disadvantage in our changing economy. While serving overseas, a soldier may not have the time or resources to learn technical skills for in demand jobs. Physical injuries and mental trauma could also make returning to college a challenge.
Training and classes specific to veterans is a growing trend. The Transition Training Academy (TTA) is an example of this concept in action. TTA teaches skills for jobs in Information Technology, a rapidly growing field. The curriculum is tailored to veterans with TBI, PTSD and other anxiety issues. WWP teamed with Cisco and the Department of Labor to start the program. TTA shows how government, private industry and nonprofits can collaborate for veterans care.
Universities are also offering options tailored to wounded veterans. The University of Illinois recently unveiled a program to support the education of student veterans. Colleges will continue to adapt their services as more student soldiers return to school.
Soldiers learn technical and intangible skills during warfare. The military operates high tech equipment that requires extensive training. Veterans also have leadership qualities and experience working with diverse groups of people.
However, parlaying this into a job can be difficult. VSOs, colleges and employers are making efforts to show the value that soldiers bring to civilian jobs. Warriors to Work is a WWP program that assists soldiers with goal setting, interview skills and job searches. Veterans service programs also build a network of companies ready to hire talented veterans.
Broad support for veterans care continues to spark debate. The question is not ‘if’ but ‘how’. Please contact local VSOs to learn more about how you can help.