Supporting veteran health
The AMA is committed to connecting physicians with information, tools and training materials to help assess and treat our nation’s veterans and their families. AMA involvement in the Joining Forces Initiative exemplifies this commitment, and AMA policy supporting veterans' access to timely and high-quality health care ensures the commitment is embedded into the AMA's federal advocacy efforts.
Joining Forces is a White House initiative that works hand-in-hand with the private sector to ensure that service members, veterans and their families are able to succeed throughout their lives. The AMA's participation ensures that physicians have access to educational tools and resources to ensure that poor health is not a hindrance to a veteran's or their family's success.
In recognition of Veterans Day, Joining Forces will host the 2015 Wellness Week on Nov. 9 - 13 to heighten awareness about the health needs of the nation's veterans, service members and their families. This year's Wellness Week will feature a webinar series (CME is available) focused on pertinent health issues.
The Veterans Choice Program
The AMA strongly supported passage of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (the Act), which is designed to address workforce challenges and access to care issues at the Veterans Administration. The Secretary of the VA spoke about these challenges and asked for physicians' help at the 2014 AMA Interim Meeting.
The new law establishes the Veterans Choice Program. This temporary program enables the VA to enter into provider agreements with non-VA physicians in the community to deliver care to veterans who meet the following eligibility criteria:
1. Veterans who are unable to receive timely care--defined as wait times of more than 30 days.
2. Veterans who live too far away from a VA facility--defined as more than 40 miles.
Set to sunset in August 2017, the Veterans Choice Program will wind down as the VA ramps up efforts to rebuild its workforce and improve accountability at its facilities. Learn more by reading a summary of the Veterans Choice Program Interim Final Rule.
Apply to deliver care through the Veterans Choice Program
Health Net and TriWest are the two VA contractors that are implementing the Veterans Choice Program. Physicians interested in delivering care through the Veterans Choice Program must join the Health Net or TriWest network of non-VA providers. Follow these steps to apply:
Step 1: Use the Veterans Choice Program Contractor Map to identify which VA contractor is administering the Veterans Choice Program in your locale.
Download a Non-VA Provider Fact Sheet for a summary of the Conditions of Participation and other requirements that are included in the Veteran's Choice Program application process. Questions or concerns should directed to the VA contractor responsible for administering the Program in your locale.
Additional resources and advocacy
The AMA is supportive of educating physicians and other health professionals to make sure veterans get the care they need. The VA provides a number of accredited training resources at no cost to all physicians who deliver care to veterans. Click the following course titles to learn more:
- Military Cultural Awareness (Note: Click “OK” to move past the pop-up notice)
- Military Culture: Core Competencies for Healthcare Professionals
Module 1: Self-Assessment/Intro to Military Ethos
Module 2: Military Organization and Roles
Module 3: Stressors and Resources
Module 4: Treatment, Resources, and Tools
Below is a compilation of links from AMA medical journals, and governmental and professional organizations on common health issues that affect veterans and their families—particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-combat depression.
If your organization has information you believe should be included on this page, please contact us.
Top veteran resource sites: Information and tools for providers
Archives of General Psychiatry articles
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine articles
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is the leading national professional medical association dedicated to treating and improving the quality of life for children, adolescents, and families affected by these disorders.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers information to pediatricians and families on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), post combat depression and deployments as they relate to the care of children and families.
On the AAP Military Youth Deployment Support Video, pediatricians and other health care providers who care for children can learn to support military youth, which includes education on PTSD.
The video includes information on
- Working to understand military youth culture
- Screening for deployment stress in youth
- Providing resources such as prevention and support
- Recognizing and responding
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine articles
The American Psychiatric Association promote the highest quality care for individuals with mental disorders and their families; promote psychiatric education and research; advance and represent the profession of psychiatry; and serve the professional needs of its membership. A medical specialty society the APA is the world’s largest psychiatric organization, representing more than 38,000 psychiatric physicians from the United States and around the world. The APA addresses the mental health and well-being of military families through public education, research, education/lifelong learning, and practice guidelines.
APA’s Military and Veteran Issues main page
Self-assessment tools. A recent issue of Focus, APA’s journal of lifelong learning, was devoted entirely to PTSD. This issue included PTSD-specific Performance-in-Practice (PiP) self-assessment tools, designed to help clinicians determine whether evidence-based care, consistent with the most recent Practice Guideline, is being provided for patients suffering from PTSD. Other relevant PiP tools cover depression, substance abuse, and suicide.
Support and Resources. The APA’s home page features a link to an extensive list of health resources for military, veterans, and families on issues ranging from finding a local mental health practitioner to understanding DoD and VA benefits.
Healthy Minds. The APA’s subsidiary, the American Psychiatric Foundation (APF) supports the Healthy Minds PBS series produced by WNET & WLIW TV. A program entitled “PTSD: Helping our Troops” was nominated for an Emmy in 2010. Three 2012 episodes will focus on military mental health issues and will feature a compelling dialogue with Admiral Mullen, former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Mrs. Mullen. Healthy Minds reaches over 60 percent of U.S. TV households.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) is a professional society representing close to 3,000 physicians dedicated to increasing access and improving quality of addiction treatment, educating physicians and the public, supporting research and prevention, and promoting the appropriate role of physicians in the care of patients with addictions.
The Center for Deployment Psychology trains military and civilian behavioral health professionals to provide high-quality deployment related behavioral health services to military personnel and their families.
The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS) was established to address US Department of Defense concerns around the psychological impact and health consequences resulting from the impact of traumatic events, to include weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and natural disasters.
The center’s work addresses a wide scope of trauma exposure from the consequences of combat, operations other than war, terrorism, natural and humanmade disasters, and public health threats. CSTS is a part of the nation’s federal medical school, Uniformed Services University, and its Department of Psychiatry, as well as a partnering center of the newly established Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.
CSTS podcast series: “Essentials for those who care for military children and families”
Defense Centers for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury
The Defense Centers for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury provides information and resources on traumatic brain injury, psychological health issues, and combat stress specifically tailored to health care professionals. Here you can learn about treatment options for PTSD and review tips for civilian health care professionals treating military patients.
The mission of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) is to serve active duty military, their beneficiaries, and veterans with traumatic brain injuries through state-of-the-art clinical care, innovative clinical research initiatives and educational programs.
The Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) website is designed to assist busy clinicians in the delivery of post-deployment healthcare. It represents a comprehensive source of deployment-related health information for both healthcare providers and service members, veterans, and family members.
DoD/VA Post-Deployment Health Clinical Practice Guidelines—developed to assist primary care clinicians in evaluating and managing individuals seeking care for potentially deployment-related health concerns and conditions.
Deployment Health News, an online newsletter published each business day that draws from publicly available sources to provide articles on health issues related to military service, deployments, and homeland security.
A page dedicated to physician and patient resources on PTSD, including a screening tool for physicians to use with their patients.
The Massachusetts General Home Base Program, in collaboration with the Veteran Administration’s National Center for PTSD, is providing this free, CME-certified educational series to assist clinicians in the diagnosis and treatment of the silent wounds of war in returning veterans and their families. This live, on-line, interactive educational series is led by nationally recognized faculty with expertise in diagnosing and treating PTSD and TBI with traditional and complementary evidence-based therapy. The faculty will also address the needs of military families and review how to recognize and treat the emotional stress present in spouses, parents, and children of veterans with PTSD or TBI.
Includes lectures on:
- The challenges of coming home after war: What providers need to know
- Reintegration issues from the Veterans perspective: overcoming the stigma of seeking help
- Recognizing PTSD and co-morbidities
- Impact of combat-related injury, illness and death on military children and families
- Traumatic brain injury
This continuing education resource was developed by Medscape Education in support of Joining Forces. Through original education programming and links to existing resources, Medscape aims to improve clinicians' awareness of the health care challenges faced by service members and veterans and their families and to improve clinicians' capacity to screen, diagnose, treat, and refer appropriately for these conditions.
Medscape CME/CE opportunities (Medscape log-in and password required)
The National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) seeks to identify, treat, and minimize or eliminate the short and long-term adverse effects of TBI and other mental health conditions associated with military service. T2 partners with the Department of Veterans Affairs and other organizations throughout the world.
Working together, teams of psychologists and technology developers promote resilience, recovery and reintegration so that service members and their families can thrive in their community of choice. T2 is a component center of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, and part of the Military Health System.
The North Carolina Medical Society partnered with the Medical University of South Carolina to conduct a web-based survey of rural and urban mental health and primary care community providers.
The mission of National Center for PTSD is to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's veterans through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders. The centers' professional website section contains training materials for health care providers, as well as information and tools to help providers with assessment and treatment.
Understanding Military Culture: Contains free CME