Veteran’s health care system in the United State has undergone a tremendous change from the initial days of its establishment to this time. Now it is assessed as one of the best integrated treatment approaches to deal with the health problems of the veterans. This health care system is systematically organized comprising a number of doctors, nurses and other health professionals, medical infrastructures and facilities like medical centers, ambulance, rehabilitation, and inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. This paper starts with an introduction to veteran’s health care system and is followed by the evolution of veteran’s health care system as of now, veteran’s health system and its management, changes in the organizational design, effectiveness and efficiency of veteran’s health care system and finally an interview with a veteran Albert George s in order to assess the effectiveness of veteran’s health care system.
Veteran’s health care system has been developed as a medical department of veteran affairs in United States. This system outlines an integrated treatment approach to cure the veterans. It has a wide network operating: ”153 medical centers, 882 ambulatory care and community-based outpatient clinics, 207 Vet Centers, 136 nursing homes, 45 residential rehabilitation treatment programs, and 92 comprehensive home-based care programs” (The health care systems for veterans an interim report, 2007, p.9).
The veterans are treated according to the intensity of their health problems. Eligible veterans are given inpatient and outpatient care, exposure to counseling, laboratory and pharmaceutical aids, and rehabilitation. This broad care system includes thirteen thousand doctors and fifty-five thousand other health professionals. “VA provides a Medical Benefits Package to all enrolled Veterans” (VA health care eligibility & enrollment, 2008, Overview, para.1).
Evolution of veteran’s health care system
The veteran’s health care system has undergone various changes to get at the latest systematic management of the medical department of veterans’ affairs. President Hoover ordered the creation of an agency for veteran administration in 1930. The veteran administration was replaced by the department of veteran affairs through an amendment issued by President Reagan in 1988. A veteran is different from a military retiree. Any person who served in the armed force is known as a veteran. A military retiree is one who completed active duty in the military. Veterans’ care system was propounded at first, for ensuring the health of veterans after being injured in the wars. The number of veterans increased at the end of the Second World War. Therefore, United States made sure to provide adequate facilities of health care to its veterans. So, the veteran care system came up with more facilities after Second World War. There occurred a change in the structure of the organization over the years. Veteran affairs department started to set up zonal networks and entrusted different budgetary authorities to provide help to each regional network. Nowadays veterans’ health care system is one of the best-integrated treatment approaches in the United States and veterans health affairs has 21 networks having three pertinent roles such as operation, planning, and budgetary. According to a report of Veteran Affairs, there were 24 million veterans in 2006 in the United States. The history of the development of veteran’s affairs is described chronologically.
- 1930- President Herbert Hoover declared an order on the creation of Veterans Administration
- 1933- Starting of the Board of Veterans.
- 1944- President Franklin Roosevelt issued an act “Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944″
- 1946- Founding the “Department of Medicine & Surgery” for veterans’ health services.
- 1953- The Department of Veterans was followed by Veterans Benefits Administration.
- 1973- The establishment of the national cemetery system.
- 1988- President Reagan issued orders to highlight veteran administration to cabinet status.
- 1989- Veteran administration was established as a department (Fact Sheet: Facts about the department of veterans’ affairs, 2009).
Veterans’ health care management
There is a nine-step emergency management program followed in the case of veteran health administration. These management principles and practices were designed at the Washington University focusing on the veterans’ health administration. The different steps of this management program are given below.
- “Designate Emergency Management Committee
- develop the emergency operations plan
- conduct a hazard vulnerability analysis
- develop incident-specific guidance
- implement mitigation and preparedness strategies, review or revise operating unit templates
- coordinate with external entities
- provide education and training to staff
- implement an emergency operations plan
- Conduct ongoing reviews and corrective actions” (Emergency management principles and practices for health care systems, n.d., p.1-87).
Veterans’ eligibility criteria
Veterans are categorized into different priority groups. The first group includes veterans who suffer from more than 50% of disabilities related to service. The second priority group includes veterans who undergo 30% – 40% of a disability connected to service. The third group is categorized as veterans those who have 10%-20% of disability. The fourth group consists of catastrophically disabled veterans who get pension and other medical benefits. The fifth group is of veterans who are eligible are those who have low incomes. The sixth group consists of those who have no service-related disability and those who receive VA compensation. The seventh group includes zero percentage disability connected to service and whose income is low. The eighth group is categorized as “veterans who have been previously denied enrollment in the VA health care system because their income exceeded VA’s income thresholds. These veterans may now qualify if their household income does not exceed the current VA income thresholds by more than 10 percent.” (VA healthcare eligibility, 2009, VA healthcare eligibility update, para.1).
Organizational design to bring quality care
Proper communication is one of the organizational designs to bring the best quality care to veterans. Communication between central officials, regional officials, and other health care professionals is very important. Assessing and measuring the performance of health professionals will improve the quality of care. Making use of advanced health technologies ensures quality in treatment. “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after you have been through a traumatic event”. (National Center for PTSD, 2009, what is PTSD, para.1). One of the main health problems seen in veterans is a post-traumatic stress disorder. So, the veterans should be treated since there is a possibility of developing health issues. The veteran health care system strives for providing good health to every veteran.
Effectiveness of veterans’ health administration
“VHA Medical Centers provide a wide range of services including traditional hospital-based services such as surgery, critical care, mental health, orthopedics, pharmacy, radiology and physical therapy” (Health acre- veterans health administration, 2009, Common medical center service, para.1). Veterans’ health administration is one of the best systems in the world in providing good health to veterans. This system has an efficient network including a lot of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. The veterans’ health care system has many centers comprising all the facilities. It inspired and encouraged private health centers to become more organized and effective. Veteran’s health care system is well organized in all the ways and it uses advanced technology to produce the scoop data and knowledge. Moreover, it provides quality health to all veterans.
Interview with a veteran
The interview is conducted with a veteran named Albert George, 57 years of age who had served the military for the last 30 years in the United States. He is now retired from military services and has been undergoing treatments under the Veteran Healthcare System. The course of the interview is narrated below:
Can you briefly explain your experience in military services?
I have 30 years of experience in military services. During this period, I had to face many hazards of wars. In an incident, I lost my right leg. In addition to this, I had to face many serious situations which caused many diseases like allergies, asthma, etc.
After your services in the military, when were you introduced to Veteran Healthcare System? What were the factors you had found there for giving you better treatment?
That is very interesting. They have been providing good treatment for all the veterans who are undergoing this system. First of all, the professionals in this system analyzed me on the grounds of social and physical vulnerabilities. Based on the conclusions they drew from the analysis, they developed specific guidance for me. After that, I started to follow this plan in my life. Meanwhile, there was a mishap and this caused a serious injury to my head. But I could observe that the professionals of this system were very much prepared to tackle emergency situations at any time and any place. One thing is remarkable. They keep good coordination with the external entities which finally benefited me by availing me of a wheelchair.
How all these processes are well managed?
Veteran Healthcare System is the largest treatment system in the United States especially for veterans. I could make out that all these systems are well managed by a committee comprising of experts from different areas of operation including management, administration, supporting staff, etc.
How would you appraise the changes that happened to you out of this treatment course?
The treatment course under Veteran Healthcare System has benefited me a lot. Before coming into this, I had a lot of health problems and physical disabilities and I have been suffering from these things and also I had no hope in future life. But Veteran Healthcare System changed my outlook towards life by filling positive energy and optimism. This was obtained by reducing the severity of health problems using different tactics. Thus, I was able to fight allergies and asthma with medications and environmental modifications. In addition to this, they provided supporting equipment which built confidence in me. All the services provided from there are planned and are implemented very accurately and systematically considering all the aspects of each individual case. As a result, the qualities of these services are gradually but steadily improving. Veteran Healthcare System is providing good quality services to the veterans who served the country for a long.
Thank you Mr. Albert George for sharing a few words with us
I also express my sincere gratitude to all for giving me such an opportunity to share a few words with you. Thank you.
Emergency management principles and practices for health care systems: Unit 1: The emergency management program: The VHA nine- step emergency management program. (n.d.). Emergency Management Academy Veterans Health Administration. 1-87. 2009. Web.
Fact Sheet: Facts about the department of veterans affairs. (2009). Department of Veterans Affairs. Web.
Health acre- veterans health administration: Medical center: Common Medical center services. (2009). United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Web.
National center for PTSD: What is PTSD. (2009). United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Web.
The health care systems for veterans an interim report: Description of VA’s health system. (2007). Congress of the United States Congressional Budget Office: A CBO Paper. 9. Web.
VA health care eligibility & enrollment: Overview. (2008). United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Web.
VA healthcare eligibility: VA healthcare eligibility update. (2009). Military.com: Benefits. Web.