Monday, December 15, 2008

Military Turns Health Care into "Warrior Care"

Military Turns Health Care into "Warrior Care"

By Jeff Hess @ December 15, 2008 3:31 AM Permalink | Comments (0)
The Department of Defense and Veteran's Affairs remake their health services to prevent another Walter Reed.
Michael Dominguez with the DoD says they were rattled by the Walter reed scandal.

"Bluntly, we failed. We let our service members down," Dominguez said they learned a lot from the mistakes that led to Walter Reed.

They have changed health care to warrior care. This represents a change in their approach to health care in response to the lessons of Walter Reed.

He said they are working much more closely with the VA to ensure a smooth hand off for soldiers who are badly wounded.

"They're cared for. The VA knows they're coming. There's a smooth hand off," He said they are also simplifying the program so that warriors just get one injury number that they can use with DoD and VA, instead of two.

They are also trying to make the health care less contentious.

"We have tried to take the adversarial nature out of it. We have tried to push a lot more customer care forward," He said they needed to make the health care more focused on the person instead of getting hung up in the process.

To do this they are working in a command structure to help soldiers focus on the goal of getting well.

"So they have a squad leaders and battalion commanders and people who advocate for them in their mission to get well," he said that includes support for those officers so they can focus on their soldiers as well.

He says they VA and DoD still provide some of the best health care on earth, as evidenced by the fact they send the worst injuries there and not somewhere else. The failure of Walter Reed, according to Dominguez, was structural not with the doctors or patients.

"WE needed to do better on that. WE weren't paying attention to that costumer care challenge. And again, it wasn't the docs. The medics were doing superb," Dominguez said.

He said they still have a lot of work to do and plan to keep the warrior care project around to continue to improve the program. He said they are trying to expand coverage and access to areas that had been hard to reach before. He also points to recent investment in research into brain trauma and PTSD as evidence that they are preparing for the unique health challenges that soldiers are incurring during the Iraq war.

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