After spending more than 30 years researching health care delivery and nursing in the American private, profit-driven health care marketplace, I decided to explore how the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) delivers healthcare to 9 million of the nation’s veterans. Although neither I, nor anyone in my family is a veteran, I knew that the VHA had made impressive strides in implementing healthcare teamwork and improving patient safety. I knew the system was more accountable than the settings in which I –a non-veteran– get my healthcare. I had, however, no idea how impressive the system really is.
Nearly five years observing and interviewing veterans, their families, and their caregivers, showed me how the VHA delivers excellent care –at far lower cost than is available in the private sector– to the nation’s most complex patients.
In Wounds of War, I introduce you to the veterans who receive this care and the dedicated employees who deliver it. I take you into exam rooms, hospital wards, therapy groups, homeless and legal programs, and even cooking classes where the VHA caregivers are interacting with their patients.
And you’ll find that while our broader healthcare system delivers fragmented healthcare services, the VHA is grounded in an integrated model.
It has perhaps the only functioning mental and behavioral health system in the United States and delivers high quality geriatric and end of life care, all while simultaneously addressing patients’ housing, employment, and legal problems.
True, we should all have this kind of integrated care; but it is critical to veterans. After all, military training and service places them at high risk for mental health and substance abuse problems, suicide, chronic pain, homelessness, and legal issues, to name a few. READ MORE