Supporting Our Veterans
NACHC is committed to supporting health centers serving veterans in their communities. NACHC works with health centers on a range of topics including veteran employment, increasing access to care for veterans and military family members, and establishing partnerships with veteran-focused organizations in local communities. Following are several tools and resources to assist health centers with their veteran-focused programs and initiatives.
Download the video: https://youtu.be/qLTqLka69xU
- Webinar: Serving Military Veterans in Health Centers: Exploring Unexpected Partners and Resources
This webinar provided an update on the landscape of Veterans being served in health centers, and offer ideas for creating unique partnerships to advance Veterans services in your community health center setting. Examples included a promising practice from a NY Health Center and a state based health foundation (NYS Health Foundation) that has prioritized Veterans health care and partnering with health centers and the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA).
NACHC co-hosted this webinar with the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS). Recorded: Thursday, June 17, 2021.
View the archived recording here.
- Publication: Identification of Military Veterans Upon Implementation of a Standardized Screening Process in a Federally Qualified Health Center
The Journal of Community Health published an article, linked above, documenting the results of a Veteran status screening intervention in the health center setting intended to identify Veterans in the patient population in order for the health center to better understand and meet their unique needs. The results indicate that the use of a standardized screening question in the Electronic Health Record system significantly increases the number of Veteran patients reported in UDS. In the case described, the health center identified an additional 450 Veteran patients as a result of the Veteran status screening intervention implemented at the health center.
This intervention was highlighted at an education session at the NACHC 2019 Policy and Issues Forum and this article was subsequently written by a team from the Iowa Primary Care Association, Veterans Health Administration Office of Rural Health, Community Health Centers of Southeastern Iowa, and NACHC.
- Publication: “Success Stories: Health Centers & Military Veterans” June 2019
Check out this fantastic compilation of the stories of 10 health centers from around the country who have creative programs and projects in place to serve the Veterans of their local communities. This may spur some ideas of local partnering between your health center, PCA, HCCN and with your VAMC or CBOC. The compilation is suitable for printing or sharing with colleagues or check it out with our Veterans resources on the Health Center Resource Clearinghouse at: www.healthcenterinfo.org/results/?Combined=Veterans.
NACHC Veterans Interest Group
Thank you for your continued interest in and dedication to serving Veterans in your communities. NACHC’s Veterans Interest Group (VIG) is an informal networking and information group intended to share promising practices, policy updates and operational information regarding increased access to care and services for the Veteran populations served in community health centers. If you would like to receive Veterans-related updates via email, please send your contact info to email@example.com. Recent updates are posted below:
- Veterans Interest Group Update – August 9, 2021
- Veterans Interest Group Update – March 18, 2021
- Veterans Interest Group Update – November 11, 2020
- Veterans Interest Group Update – August 12, 2020
- Veterans Interest Group Update – April 21, 2020
- Veterans Interest Group Update – March 5, 2020
- Veterans Interest Group Update – January 17, 2020
Resources for Serving Veterans in the Community
Veterans may benefit from a medical-leadership partnership (MLP) program at your health center or in collaboration with a MLP in your community. Technical assistance and training resources are available from the National Center for Medical Legal Partnership, (Home — National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership) a HRSA-funded partner, housed within The George Washington University. Specific guides on Veterans issues include:
- VA Medical-Legal Partnerships: Implementation Guidance and Suggested Measures (NCMLP, 2020) (Amendment to the NCMLP VA MLP Readiness Guide)
- Brief: Assisting Veterans and service members with legal needs during VA transitions (NCMLP, 2020)
- Health Center MLP Toolkit: A planning, implementation, and practice guide for building and sustaining a health center based MLP
Veterans are encouraged to connect with resources one may need now to better respond to challenges one may face later. Veterans are driven and resilient, but everyone needs help sometimes. It is not always easy to ask for help, but there are people who want to listen.
If you are a Veteran having a difficult time or you know a Veteran having a difficult time, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) encourages you to reach out for peer-to-peer support, clinical care, or counseling. For example:
- Call, text, or email a friend or family member to ask for support through a tough time. Veterans can find ways to get started on REACH OUT.
- Connect with a fellow Veteran to talk about what they are going through.
- Use these resources to find support through life challenges:
- VA Solid Start: Qualified Solid Start representatives will call Veterans three times in their first year of separation to walk through the benefits available to them.
- MyVA411: Veterans, their families, and caregivers can call 1-800-MyVA411 (800-698-2411) to easily access information on VA benefits and services.
- Make the Connection: More than 600 Veterans and family members from across the country have shared their stories of strength and recovery. It only takes a few seconds to find a story to which Veterans can relate.
- SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services: This tool, which is confidential and anonymous, allows people to search by ZIP code for local treatment facilities that focus on substance use/addiction and/or mental health issues.
- Self-Check Assessment: People cope with stressful situations in different ways. This confidential, anonymous risk assessment can show if stress and depression are affecting Veterans.
- National Call Center for Homeless Veterans: Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness can get free, confidential support through the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans. Call or chat online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Veterans Crisis Line: If you find yourself in crisis, do not hesitate to reach out for immediate help. Emergency care is available by calling 911 or going to your nearest emergency department. The Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/7 and can be reached by calling 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1 if you are a Veteran) or chat online here or text 838255.
VA CHOICE to MISSION
As of June 6, 2019 the VA began implementing portions of the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018 (MISSION Act), which both ends the Veterans Choice Program and establishes a consolidated Veterans Community Care Program. Check out NACHC’s Toolkit and Fact Sheet to guide your efforts:
Toolkit for the Veteran Community Care Program Administered by the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (May 2020)
Fact Sheet: Partnering with the VA to Provide Care for Veterans in Community Health Centers (May 2020)
Please sign up for the Office of Community Care Newsletter from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). This provides the latest updates for community-based providers who are officially part of the VA’s Community Care Network. See the Community Care website at: https://www.va.gov/COMMUNITYCARE/providers/index.asp.
Over the past several years, NACHC has supported the development of partnerships between health centers, the VA, VA’s Third Party Administrators, Veteran Service Organizations, and other service providers. These partnerships have helped veterans access high-quality care in their communities more easily. These efforts have resulted in fact sheets, webinars, and success stories, which NACHC has used to educate health centers about best practices for successful partnership building.
Partnership areas include:
NACHC has worked to support partnerships that encourage outreach to underserved veteran populations and inform veterans about the care options available to them in order to improve health care outcomes.
Local VA Partnerships
NACHC has helped health centers around the country as they develop direct relationships with their local VA facilities. These local partnerships streamline the process for veterans interested in accessing community care, especially in remote communities or in communities near VA facilities with longer wait times.
Health centers can also find out more about how to serve veterans in their community by reaching out directly to their local VA facilities and local military installations:
Related Data Sources
There is a significant amount of publicly available information health centers can use to start getting smart about the needs of their local veteran population.
For more information about NACHC’s efforts to support veterans contact Gina Capra at firstname.lastname@example.org at (301) 347-0400.