DOD & VA Easing the Burden

DOD and the VA are working together to ease the transition for service members requiring complex care management as they transition from the DOD system of healthcare to the VA or within each system.

“More than a decade of combat has placed enormous demands on a generation of service members and veterans particularly those who have suffered wounds, injuries, or illnesses which require a complex plan of care,” said Dr. Karen Guice, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, and Co-Chair of the DOD-VA Interagency Care Coordination Committee (IC3).

“The system was developed to focus on continuity of care, holistic support services, and to provide a warm handoff for service members and veterans as they move from and between military, VA, and community healthcare systems. Our care coordinators use tools and processes to improve and simplify the lines of communication”, according to Dr. Linda Spoonster Schwartz, Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning for the VA and Co-Chair of the DOD-VA IC3.

The effort to coordinate care entails the implementation of a Lead Coordinator who serves on a service member’s care management team. The Lead Coordinator offers personal guidance and assists the service member and their families in understanding the benefits and services that they are entitled to receive. The first phase of Lead Coordinator Training was completed in November 2015. It is expected that a total of 1,500 DOD staff and 1,200 VA staff will service as Lead Coordinators.

Coordination efforts are synchronized through the IC3 Community of Practice (CoP), a group representing more than 50 DOD and VA programs that provide specialty care, including rehabilitation services for the visually impaired and Polytrauma centers.

In other VA news, the VA has awarded four major contracts to help deliver timely healthcare to veterans. The contracts make up a $4.6 billion Medical Surgical Prime Vendor Next-Generation Program (MSPV-NG) acquisition and represents a major step to supply chain modernization.

The contracts were awarded to American Medical Depot, Kreisers Inc., Cardinal Health, and Medline Industries, Inc. The contracts are going to be managed by the VA’s Strategic Acquisition Center based in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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