VETERANS’ HEALTH

November 13, 2018 at 4:45 am

Meet the group making the health of veterans their number one priority.

Aired on November 12, 2018.

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>> AS WE CONTINUE OUR POST 9/11
VETERAN SERIES, "FRONTLINE TO
HOME FRONT," WE'RE TAKING A LOOK
AT VETERANS HEALTH CARE.
PROVIDING IT IS ONE WAY
AMERICANS PAY THEIR DEBT TO
THOSE WHO SERVE.
PERHAPS THAT'S WHY STEVEN A.
COHEN WHOSE SON IS IN THE
SERVICE DONATED HUNDREDS OF
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO LAUNCH
AND SUSTAIN A NATIONWIDE NETWORK
OF MILITARY FAMILY CLINICS.
THE GOAL, QUOTE, TO CARE FOR THE
VETERAN, THE SPOUSE, AND THE
CHILDREN.
BUT WHAT IS THIS NETWORK
OFFERING THAT THE VETERANS
AFFAIRS HOSPITALS SYSTEM DOESN'T
PROVIDE FOR ITS ALMOST 9 MILLION
PATIENTS?
THE ANSWER MAY SURPRISE YOU.
RECENTLY RETIRED AIR FORCE
COLONEL TRACY KNNEIL WALTON JOI
US ALONG WITH HER COLLEAGUE WHO
IS THE CLINIC DIRECTOR AT THE
STEVEN A. COHEN MILITARY FAMILY
CLINIC AT NYU LANGONE.
GREAT TO HAVE YOU.
>> THANK YOU.
>> LET'S TALK ABOUT HOW IT GOT
STARTED.
HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
>> HERE OUR CLINIC GOT
ESTABLISHED IN JULY 2012 BECAUSE
WE REALLY SAW THE GAP IN
SERVICES THAT EXISTED FOR OUR
MILITARY FAMILIES AND ALSO A LOT
OF VETERANS AS WELL.
AND THEN A COUPLE YEARS LATER,
STEVE COHEN JOINED FORCES AND
CAME ON BOARD AND REALLY
PROVIDED REALLY GENEROUS
SUPPORT, CREATED COHEN VETERANS
NETWORK AS A WHOLE, AND NOW
REALLY LAUNCHED INTO OPENING A
NUMBER OF CLINICS, UP TO 25
ACROSS THE NATION.
>> WE WOULD LIKE TO BELIEVE THAT
GIVEN ALL THAT THE VETERANS HAVE
DONE FOR US AND ALL THE SERVICE
THEY HAVE PROVIDED, THAT THEY
WOULD COME BACK HERE AND
WHATEVER THEY NEEDED WOULD BE
THERE.
>> YES, THERE'S DEFINITELY A
NEED.
AND WE WORK IN COLLABORATION
WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
AND THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION
TO REALLY COMPLEMENT THE
SERVICES THAT THEY PROVIDE, AND
PROVIDE SERVICES TO THOSE WHO
OTHERWISE WOULDN'T BE ELIGIBLE
FOR CARE.
WE SEE VETERANS REGARDLESS OF
DISCHARGE STATUS.
SO THERE ARE SOME VETERANS AND
FAMILY MEMBERS WHO, THEY MAY NOT
BE ELIGIBLE FOR CARE AT THE VA,
BUT THEY STILL HAVE A MENTAL
HEALTH NEED --
>> WHY WOULD THAT BE?
WHY WOULD THEY POSSIBLY NOT BE
ELIGIBLE?
>> IT MAY BE BASED ON THE TYPE
OF DISCHARGE THAT THEY HAD, OR
IF THEY DON'T HAVE A VA
DISABILITY, THEN THEY WOULDN'T
BE ELIGIBLE FOR CARE.
>> SO THERE MIGHT NOT BE AN
IDENTIFIABLE DISABILITY THERE --
>> YES.
>> -- A LABEL PUT ON THEM?
>> YES.
>> BUT THEY STILL NEED SOME
HELP?
>> YES.
AND THAT'S VERY COMMON.
IF YOU THINK ABOUT THINGS SUCH
AS DEPRESSION AND POSTTRAUMATIC
STRESS, THOSE SYMPTOMS OFTEN
DON'T APPEAR EARLY ON.
>> WHAT ABOUT THE FAMILY ASPECT
OF THIS?
TALK ABOUT THAT.
>> THE FREQUENT SEPARATIONS AND
COMING TOGETHER, THAT'S A HUGE
STRESSOR BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO
REBUILD FAMILY RULES AND
REINTEGRATE YOURSELF INTO THE
FAMILY, FIND THAT CONNECTION
AGAIN WITH THE CHILDREN WHO
MIGHT BE ALREADY ONE YEAR OLDER,
AFTER HAVING MISSED SEVERAL
IMPORTANT KIND OF MILESTONES IN
THEIR DEVELOPMENT, ANNIVERSARIES
AND SO ON.
THAT'S A REALLY HARD ADJUSTMENT
ON THE VETERAN, BUT ALSO ON THE
RELATIONSHIP, LET'S SAY, WITH
THE SPOUSE, BUT ALSO KIDS
THEMSELVES.
>> AND WOULD THOSE ISSUES NOT
NECESSARILY BE HANDLED WITHIN
THE VA HOSPITAL SYSTEM?
>> WITHIN THE VA HOSPITAL
SYSTEM, THEY'RE THERE TO SERVE
THE VETERAN, NOT THE FAMILY.
AND SO WE ACTUALLY PRIDE
OURSELVES IN PROVIDING
ADDITIONAL SERVICES FOR THE
FAMILIES, INCLUDING FAMILY
THERAPY, COUPLES THERAPY, AS
WELL AS THERAPY FOR CHILDREN WHO
MAY BE HAVING DIFFICULTY.
>> TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT
TRANSITION IN THE MILITARY.
YOU AND I WERE TALKING A FEW
MOMENTS AGO.
YOU RETIRED ABOUT A YEAR AGO.
>> YES.
>> BUT YOUR TRANSITION, YOU SAID
TO ME, WAS FAIRLY SMOOTH BECAUSE
YOU'RE DOING THINGS SIMILAR TO
WHAT YOU WERE DOING BEFORE.
>> YES.
>> YOU WOULD THINK -- AGAIN, IF
YOU HADN'T SERVED IN THE
MILITARY, THAT THE NOTION OF
TRANSITION WOULD BE, OH, THIS IS
GREAT, BUT NOT ALWAYS THE CASE?
>> THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT
THINGS THAT A VETERAN NOW HAS TO
TAKE CARE OF COMPLETELY FOR THEM
SELF WITHOUT THAT ADDITIONAL
SUPPORT.
WHEN YOU'RE IN THE MILITARY,
IT'S LIKE AN ADDITIONAL FAMILY
AND THEY HELP YOU GET SETTLED
WHEN YOU MOVE TO A NEW STATE,
HELPING YOU FIND A PLACE TO
LIVE.
THE SPOUSES WILL CONNECT AND GET
TOGETHER.
THEY'LL HELP YOUR SPOUSE FIND A
JOB.
THE KIDS HAVE AUTOMATIC
FAMILIES.
BUT THEN WHEN YOU MOVE TO A NEW
CITY AND YOU'RE NO LONGER IN
THAT MILITARY ENVIRONMENT, YOU
HAVE TO NAVIGATE THAT ALL BY
YOURSELF.
AND IT CAN BE VERY CHALLENGING.
AS A PSYCHOLOGIST, MY CAREER WAS
ABLE TO TRANSLATE PRETTY
SMOOTHLY AND I HAD AN EXCELLENT
TRANSITION INTO THIS POSITION
WHERE I'M ABLE TO CONTINUE TO
SERVE.
BUT FOR MANY OF MY, YOU KNOW,
COUNTERPARTS IN THE MILITARY WHO
DO A DIFFERENT JOB, IT MAY BE
FAR MORE CHALLENGING.
>> SO, IF FOLKS WHO ARE WATCHING
AND LISTENING TO OUR
CONVERSATION TODAY ARE SAYING TO
THEMSELVES, THEY FIND THEMSELVES
IN THE SAME SITUATION OR FAMILY
MEMBERS OR FRIENDS, AND THEIR
QUESTION IS, WELL, HOW DO I GET
TO YOU ALL?
>> THEY CAN GO TO COHEN
VETERANS.ORG.
IT'S A WEBSITE WITH A LIST OF
CLINICS RIGHT NOW THAT ARE OPEN
ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
AND THE SERVICES WE'LL PROVIDE
ARE REALLY A WIDE RANGE OF
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES: IT'S
INDIVIDUAL THERAPY.
IT'S GOING TO BE AS TRACY SAID,
COUPLES AND FAMILY THERAPY,
PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATION
MANAGEMENT IF THAT'S THE NEED AS
WELL.
>> AND IN ADDITION, WE OFTEN
TELEHEALTH.
ONE OF THE THINGS IRENE DIDN'T
MENTION.
TELEHEALTH PROVIDES QUALITY
CARE, BUT IT ALLOWS FLEXIBILITY
FOR OUR CLIENTS.
SO THEY DON'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH
TRAFFIC.
I HAD A CLIENT WHO WAS TAKING
VACATION TIME IN ORDER TO COME
IN TO SEE ME.
AND ONCE I FOUND THAT OUT, WE
STARTED DOING TELEHEALTH SO THAT
HE COULD USE HIS VACATION FOR
VACATION, BUT STILL TAKE CARE OF
HIMSELF.
>> IT'S SUCH IMPORTANT WORK, AND
WE ARE ALSO THANK TO ALL OF YOU
DOING IT, FOR THE COHEN FAMILY
FOR PUTTING THIS ALL TOGETHER.
WE HOPE WE CAN GET THE WORD OUT
THERE SO THAT FOLKS WHO NOT ONLY
PERHAPS NEED THE ASSISTANCE, BUT
DESERVE IT WILL GET IT ALL.
THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THE WORK
YOU'RE DOING, FOR SPENDING SOME
TIME WITH US.
>> THANK YOU.
>> THANK YOU.
>> BE WELL.
AND FOR INFORMATION ON VETERANS
HEALTH CARE, MAKE SURE YOU VISIT
US AT METROFOCUS.ORG.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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