ReVAmp the VA
Happy New Year to all, and here’s to a year of Hope and Healing in 2017.
It has been an interesting year, 2016, and 2017 holds more promise and hope, I believe, due to an increased awareness of the issues facing our military members, Veterans, and their families. As a nation, we need to get behind those who defend us and see to it that medical care is always delivered in an efficient and expert manner, and that the services afforded to the civilian population are also available for our current and former service personnel. With only 8-10% of all medical personnel being skilled in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Rehabilitation, we are convinced that the civilian experts are poised to deliver this health care. We are impressed with our national leaders who devloped the Choice Act, and we trust that our Veterans will soon receive integrative health care through collaborative efforts with the DOD, VA, and civilian health care providers who represent 99% of the health care resources. ReVAmping the use of telemedicine would greatly increase the Cognitive Retraining necessary to treat TBI as well as Cognitive Processing Therapy necessary to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
As you know, we, at Resurrecting Lives Foundation have been advocating for increased national awareness for the diagnosis and treatment of TBI since our early inception in 2008. In 2012, Resurrecting Lives Foundation achieved non-profit status as a 501c3 which allowed us to to carry out our mission and vision necessary for serving the nearly 750,000 Veterans From Iraq and Afghanistan who struggle with TBI/PTSD – with PTSD being defined as a form of chemical brain injury. Clearly, our Heroes are out of their brains, not out of their minds.
We have been blessed to share our mission with several leading experts in the field, especially our visionary mentor and board advisor, Brigadier General (Ret.) Gerald Dieter Griffin, MD, PharmD. General Griffin continues to practice Emergency Medicine with a special interest in brain injury and the immune system. He has written numerous articles about the diagnosis and treatment, and continues to advise the military and the civilian medical providers through his work with the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States. General Griffin served over 42 years in service to our country in the US Army, including a deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom serving a tour of duty in Mosul, Iraq with the 67th Combat Support Hospital as an Emergency Room & Triage Doctor. During the tour, they were mortared 3 to 5 times daily and as a result of these continual mortar attacks he received blast injuries. He was diagnosed with PTSD and TBI from the blasts and has since recovered partially after 5 plus years of counseling at the VA. tour of duty in Mosul, Iraq. He has dedicated his life to the care of our military members, and is VP (Chair) US Delegation of CIOMR at NATO Advisory Group as well as Supporting Military Medicine & Research-SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD – The Geneva Foundation.
To Read articles on TBI and PTSD written by General Griffin, MD, Please Click on the title of the article listed below:
Post-traumatic stress disorder: revisiting adrenergics,glucocorticoids, immune system effects and homeostasis.
Colonel (Ret.) Bart Billings, PhD, is a rehabilitation psychologist who works tirelessly to bring the integrative medicine approach to healing for our Veterans and whose book, INVISIBLE SCARS, is an Amazon best seller and is available on Amazon. If you wish to purchase the book, Please click on the book cover to the left.
Two weeks ago, we discussed an initiative for health care for our Veterans which we are calling ReVAmp the VA.
Below are our suggestions for an integrative medical approach which utilizes the collaborative efforts of the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, and the Civilian tertiary medical systems for neurologic care. We are here to serve our most important natural resource – our all voluntary military members and their families.
1. Fully merge the military medical records with the VA records to assure a seamless transfer of information when the Veteran is discharged.
2. Prepare the VA system to receive the huge patient load of mTBI/concussion & PTS(D) wave that will be seeking care in the future. Most potential patients have not yet filed or sought care. This speaks to Dr. Billings call to action for more Physical Medicine and Rehab physicians in the VA – and this may be incorporated with training programs at tertiary medical schools in collaboration with the VA. The VA must embrace the civilian health care systems, or allow the Veteran via the CHOICE ACT, to seek qualified specialists outside the VA.
3. Modify/amend the civil service rules so that non-performers can be fired for failing to do their job, by the local department chiefs.
4. Establish a working Tele-medicine Department, so that all patients can access the VA care system on any type of screen. Have a designated ‘Vet Care’ screen site in EVERY community in the country, either in a medical office, urgent care, or pharmacy. Whereas the VA currently boasts the utilization of Telehealth, it is primarily used as remote diagnosis for dermatology and ophthalmology issues, not treatment for TBI/PTSD.
5. Make dishonesty and/or lying/covering up errors/poor performance a part of every job performance review. No bonuses for anyone who is a part of a VA care delivery system – one should not receive bonuses for doing one’s job.
6. Involve pharmacists and nurses in the control of narcotic prescriptions,and have regional computer nets that have all of the prescriptions written by all providers visible to halt abuse. Clinical pharmacists to monitor narcotic&antibiotic prescribing. Track prescribers and prescriptions and look for patterns or abuse.
7. Fully fund the VA to provide the care to our Veterans !
Resurrect a Hero – Strengthen a Nation
Let 2017 be the year that we make health care accessible for our Veterans – even those with complex neurological issues secondary to TBI/PTSD and enable them to have a productive, happy, successful career outside the military, as a valued member of the civilian world. Please feel free to to send us your comments, suggestions, and stories to:
We are here. We are listening. We are advocating for you – and our nation.
Chrisanne Gordon, MD
Founder and Chairwoman
Resurrecting Lives Foundation is proud to be a GuideStar Exchange Member