Forward Observer: VA Adopts a Healthcare Concierge Program to Solve a Problem

Concierge for Care Program Connects with Recently Separated Service
Members

LVMAC Poster Art 2005On 22 February 2018, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) announced the launch of Concierge for Care, a health care enrollment initiative that helps military servicemembers connect shortly after they separate with the VA’s healthcare system.

It is a proactive, spoonfeeding program meant to overcome a possible deficiency in the outprocessing of our servicemembers because, inexplicably — considering all now supposedly receive TAP training (transition assistance training) — more than a third still claim they do not know their health benefits; about a quarter of them report they do not know how to apply for them.  Either the training is not as good as billed, does not occur as advertised,  or there is “operator head-space” involved — you choose.  The effort is a laudable one, therefore, as a healthcare fail-safe, for important reasons.

For example, certain veterans who have served in a theater of combat operations are eligible to enroll and receive cost-free health care for medical conditions related to their military service during the five-year period after discharge — which, when appropriate and with the proper use of veterans service officer, may lead to a longer-term benefit.  As another example, a few need to take advantage of the new mental health initiative for their own well-being.

In practice, the program requires VA staff to personally contact recently separated servicemembers to answer questions, process their health-care enrollment applications over the phone, and help schedule eligible  veterans for their first VA medical appointment, if needed.  The goal is to make contact with the individual within a month of discharge.  Accordingly,  the team receives a list of servicemembers who separated from the U.S. Department of Defense each week.

If you are of a more independent mind, information about VA healthcare and the application process can be found at the VA’s new website still in development and on which we have reported before: https://www.vets.gov/health-care/apply/.

[Editor’s Note:  LVMAC has tried to impress upon certain local congressmen and senators, local state representatives and our Department of Military and Veterans Affairs something like this needs to be done in the area of employment by our Department of Labor and Industry working with the U.S. Department of Labor.  After all, employment is the number one issue for returning servicemembers.]

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RJH
26 April 2018

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