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HAP Thanks State’s Veterans for Their Service, Highlights Health Systems’ Veterans Health Programs

November 10, 2017

Pennsylvania is home to 820,000 veterans, the fourth largest veteran population in the nation.

HAP thanks these men and women for their service and sacrifices to protect our freedom and way of life. The association and its members also recognize that, as a result of these sacrifices, our veterans and their families sometimes need additional life supports, including help for health care challenges.

Improving veterans’ health care and wellness is a priority for hospitals and health systems. The American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Institute for Diversity is committed to ending health care disparities, and military and veteran communities are identified as one of our vulnerable populations.

The AHA teamed up with Warrior Centric Health (WCH), which trains health care and supportive services professionals to understand how to interact with and take care of service members, veterans, and their families.

WCH offers comprehensive Cultural Competency Awareness and Clinical Training in Veteran Population Health. The program focuses on the biological-psychological-social-cultural considerations of the veteran community and provider communication and interactions with the veterans.

By example, Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) Veteran Health Program (VHP) addresses the complex health care needs of veterans. VHP staff are trained in veteran care and veterans’ unique health care needs. The team of clinically-certified professionals are experts in the coordination of care through the AHA’s sponsored training in Warrior Centric Health.

LVHN also is a Veterans Choice Program provider, allowing veterans who can't get immediate help through the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre to go to LVHN. Through an agreement with the Veterans Affairs Department, LVHN partnered with the Wilkes-Barre facility to offer a variety of health services.

All Lehigh Valley hospitals started screening patients to capture veteran status in electronic medical records. This enables clinicians to ask about military service, deployments, and experiences as a way to better develop care to meet veterans' needs.

During 2016, The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, partnered with Cohen Veterans Network to develop the first clinic of its kind in the region. The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic provides personalized, evidence-based behavioral health care at no cost for veterans and their family members.

WellSpan VNA Home Care, part of Wellspan Health, is a national partner of We Honor Veterans, a pioneering campaign developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. As a We Honor Veterans partner,  

WellSpan VNA Home Care Hospice provides ongoing veteran-centered education for their staff and volunteers to help improve the care it provides to the veterans it serves.

If you are interested in learning more about how Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems are working to meet the health care needs of veterans, contact your local hospital.

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