HAP's partnerships utilize coordinated efforts to increase Veterans' access to quality health care, wherever they are. Here are a few of the partnerships HAP supports:
- American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP): VA and ACEP are working together to educate community emergency medicine clinicians about Veteran-specific conditions and care needs. Emergency medicine clinicians care for patients with acute illnesses and injuries that require immediate medical attention, and VA and ACEP will collaborate on initiatives that focus on quality improvement of VA emergency departments, including geriatric and women’s health care treatment. The partners will also work toward efforts to address the safe use of opioids within the VA health care system and improving timely access to emergency care for Veterans in non-VA facilities.
- American Kidney Fund (AKF): This partnership will increase awareness of the risk factors, causes, complications, and treatments of kidney disease and its associated conditions, and it will provide additional resources through AKF’s webinars, awareness campaigns, and events to Veterans who are diagnosed with or are at risk for developing kidney disease. Both VA and AKF are focused on education, screenings, and mental and emotional support for those who suffer from the disease, which affects about 1 in 6 Veterans. AKF offers information about kidney disease for patients and their caregivers and an emergency fund to provide grants to some patients diagnosed with the disease. The foundation is also advocating for federal emergency assistance for dialysis patients. As part of the collaboration, VA will share publicly available data that can be used in AKF’s clinical research and information about AKF’s resources. AKF will share VA and VHA educational resources and assist in identifying Veterans who may be eligible for VA care by disseminating information at its in-person and virtual events.
- Amyotrophic Later Sclerosis Association (ALS): This partnership with the ALS Association allows VHA to expand the number of resources for Veterans diagnosed with this chronic health condition. It provides Veterans with greater access ALS programs and services. The partnership provides VA healthcare teams opportunities to participate in continuing education, enables access to the ALS Associations resources and patient education, and promotes participation in local communities where ALS chapters are located.
- American Lung Association: VA and the American Lung Association have a shared goal to improve Veterans’ health and well-being through collaborative education and services for Veterans living with lung disease. A partnership between these two entities helps Veterans access American Lung Association’s online resources or support groups, including Better Breathers Clubs; give American Lung Association’s partners and providers a chance to learn more about Veteran-specific issues including suicide prevention; and encourage VA medical centers and regional American Lung Association affiliates to create local partnerships that can bring Veterans awareness and support. VA diagnoses 7,700 Veterans with lung cancer each year and an estimated 900,000 remain at risk due to age, smoking, and other environmental exposures during and after military service. VA continues to conduct groundbreaking research, studies, and clinical projects on topics like the risks of e-cigarettes, tuberculosis treatment, and sleep apnea. This partnership will add to the support and resources VA and VHA already offer to Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors.
- Americans for the Arts: VHA and Americans for the Arts (AFTA) have expanded their partnership to increase access to the arts and humanities and enhance services for Veterans and their families. The goal is to provide more Veterans with the opportunity to experience how the arts can benefit their health and well-being. AFTA will also implement the Whole Health system, which includes conventional treatment with a focus on self-empowerment, self-healing, and self-care. VHA’s Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation (OPCC&CT) is working with AFTA to create a formalized process by which VA facilities can establish new, collaborative relationships with local arts partners. Over the past several years, more than 30 VA facilities have participated in efforts to bring the partnership’s offerings to Veterans.
- Cigna: VHA is working with Cigna, a health services company, to create and share resources for safer prescribing of opioids to Veterans in pain. The partners will share resources related to opioids, such as best practices, treatment methods, tools to decrease risk, and methods for educating clinicians. Cigna and VHA will work together to educate providers about safe opioid use as well as opioid alternatives. The partnership will also develop a new national action agenda to address the opioid crisis among Veterans.
- Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS): The partnership with CNCS supports VA’s Choose Home Initiative, which allows Veterans to age in their homes rather than in institutions. Through this interagency collaboration, CNCS is providing volunteer support services in five communities within the Choose Home Initiative: Colorado Springs, CO; Missoula, MT; Las Vegas, NV; Pittsburgh, PA; and San Antonio, TX. The CNCS volunteers will deliver services such as homemaker and in-home respite care. VA will work with CNCS to bring these services to eligible Veterans at a local level.
- Expiration Term of Service Sponsorship Program (ETS-SP): The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has created a public-private partnership with the Expiration Term of Service Sponsorship Program (ETS-SP) to better support service members and Veterans across social determinants of health as they integrate into civilian life and communities. The agreement between VHA and ETS-SP supports transitioning service members and Veterans earlier in the transition process by facilitating better access to VHA health care and benefits prior to leaving the Department of Defense. ETS-SP is a nonprofit that assists service members in their transition to the post-military community of their choice by making it easy for service members to find resources in the community they are moving to and facilitating connections for service members to VA-trained sponsors in their new community that can help them through the transition process. Through the partnership, VHA and ETS-SP promote wellness, increase resilience and protective factors such as employment and financial stability, link Veterans with VA and community-based services and support, and address the environmental and social conditions that can contribute to risk factors related to Veteran death by suicide. This partnership is led by VA’s Post-9/11 Transition and Case Management (TCM) program and is facilitated by the National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships.
- GO2 Foundation: VHA and GO2 Foundation are working together to increase awareness of the importance of lung cancer screening for Veterans at high risk for the disease. In addition to increased access to lung cancer screening for Veterans through its national network of more than 700 screening centers, GO2 Foundation is working with VHA to provide additional resources for screening implementation, professional development training, patient education campaigns and potential research programs. GO2 Foundation is dedicated to saving, extending, and improving the lives of those vulnerable, at risk for, and diagnosed with lung cancer.
- Marcus Institute for Brain Health (MIBH): Through VHA’s partnership with MIBH, VHA assigns a nurse or social worker as a liaison to Veterans who have sought care at MIBH and then chosen to return to VHA treatment. This liaison works to meet the ongoing health care needs of Veterans diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The goals of the partnership are to optimize care coordination for VHA-enrolled Veterans after they are discharged from acute self-referred treatment at MIBH and to support eligible Veterans who want to enroll in VHA care, maintaining continuity of treatment.
- MAZON: VHA and MAZON: A Jewish response to hunger have formed a partnership to increase awareness about the risks associated with food insecurity and options to address it through outreach to Veterans. MAZON is a national advocacy organization working to end hunger among people of all faiths in the United States and Israel. The organization advocates for food security among Veterans and other groups, a priority for VHA. MAZON also leads a national effort to eliminate barriers to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) access for currently serving military families, which VHA also supports.
- Medical-Legal Partnerships: These nonmonetary partnerships bring together VA medical facilities and volunteer attorneys who provide services to Veterans at no cost. Veterans, including those experiencing homelessness, ranked affordable legal assistance high on their list of unmet needs in a 2016 VA survey. Legal issues can also directly affect Veterans’ health. For example, a Veteran experiencing stress because of a child custody dispute cannot fully focus on recovering from a health issue. After screening Veterans for unmet legal needs, VA medical teams can refer Veterans to on-site legal clinics where attorneys provide free services for noncriminal legal issues, in areas such as family law, landlord-tenant disputes, and elder law.
- Microsoft Adaptive Controller: VA and Microsoft formalized a partnership to expand opportunities for education, recreation, and other activities of daily life for Veterans living with disabilities. VA will work with Microsoft to bring its specialized equipment to Veterans with spinal cord injuries, amputations, and neurological or other injuries at more than 22 VA medical centers in the United States. Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller will be the first piece of hardware developed through an inclusive design approach and in consultation with people who have disabilities. The Controller gives people with a range of physical disabilities the ability to customize their computer and gaming setups. The partners will collaborate to bring these Controllers and other equipment and services to Veterans who can use them for therapeutic and rehabilitative as well as recreational activities.
- Microsoft Airband: Through its partnership with Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft), VHA aims to improve rural Veterans’ online access to VA services and benefits. By leveraging Microsoft’s Airband Initiative with Internet Service Providers, the partnership will help identify opportunities to bring broadband internet access to rural areas of the country with large populations of Veterans who have limited access to reliable internet service at home. Improved access to broadband internet can facilitate digital inclusion and Veterans’ access to learning, working, communicating, and accessing VA services and benefits online — which in turn enhances their ability to participate in their health care.
- OnStar: VHA and OnStar entered into a formal partnership in 2020. This partnership will support Veterans who experience crisis and increase suicide prevention services for them, as suicide prevention is the top clinical priority for VA. VHA and OnStar will work together to reduce deaths by suicide by providing additional resources for Veterans in crisis or emotional distress. The partners will also work to utilize OnStar as a resource that VHA clinicians can use in developing enhanced suicide prevention safety plans for Veterans.
- Parkinson’s Foundation: VHA and the Parkinson’s Foundation work together to increase Veterans’ and health care providers’ access to Parkinson’s disease information and resources, educate and train VA staff on disease management, and improve service coordination and navigation for Veterans. The Foundation also integrates members of the Veteran community into the nonprofit’s planning and activities supporting outreach efforts that promote education and awareness among Veterans, including Veteran-specific health concerns and suicide prevention strategies. The Foundation’s goal is to make life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. It is estimated that 80,000 Veterans suffer from Parkinson’s Disease. VA operates six specialized Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (PADRECCs) which assist Veterans in effectively managing Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders by way of VA pharmacy benefits, physical, occupational, and speech therapies, medical equipment, surgical services, and other valuable resources. PADDRECs offer state-of-the-art clinical care, education, research, and national outreach and advocacy.
- PATRIOTlink: This new resource navigation platform is designed to help users quickly locate Veteran support services and programs. PATRIOTlink, which is operated by Code of Support Foundation, a partner of VA’s Veterans Experience Office, connects users with trustworthy resources that are specific to stakeholder needs. The platform parses through the nearly 6,000 programs that have cleared its extensive screening process to provide refined search results for topics such as financial counseling, caregiver support, peer support, and Veteran benefits. Because the tool is cloud-based, the information on PATRIOTlink is continually updated as platform administrators are notified of changes to program offerings and as users provide feedback on program quality. PATRIOTlink is a member of Veterans Hub, a project led by VHA’sThe National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships, that is focused on improving the health and well-being of Veterans by providing them access to positive social determinants of health such as housing, employment, and food security.
- Pet Partners: Pet Partners’ volunteer handlers, along with their trained animals, have long visited Veterans at several VA medical centers throughout the nation. Pet Partners has now partnered with VHA to develop more opportunities for Veterans to benefit from pet visitation, clinical interventions with therapy animals, and other activities and events. The aim of this partnership is to bring more Veteran patients the benefits of the human-animal bond. Research has shown that people in contact with animals may experience lower blood pressure, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, lessened anxiety and pain, and decreased feelings of loneliness.
- Salesforce Military: VHA and Salesforce have developed a partnership to support Veterans and military service members who are transitioning out of active duty and into the civilian workforce. The partnership facilitates coordination between VHA and the Salesforce Military community to better connect Veterans, service members, and their spouses with skill development, career advancement, and employment resources. Since its launch in 2014, Salesforce Military has provided military personnel, Veterans, and their spouses with high-demand technology skills and certifications at no cost to help them establish and enhance their careers. Similarly, VA offers a number of benefits and programs that address needs across social determinants of health, such as economic stability, employment, and health literacy. Through the partnership, Salesforce Military will provide direct links to VA resources and information about suicide prevention and how Veterans, their spouses, and employers can reduce the risk for suicide in their homes, businesses, and communities. The partnership will add to VHA’s initiatives to provide transition assistance through programs such as Personalized Career Planning and Guidance, Veterans Readiness and Employment, and the Transition Assistance Program.
- Veterans Community Partnerships (VCPs):These represent a national initiative that ensures all Veterans and their caregivers have access to, and a wide range of choices among, the services that allow Veterans to stay in the places they call home. VCPs comprise Veterans and their caregivers, VA facilities, community health care providers, and organizations and agencies working together to foster seamless access to care and support services at VA and in Veteran communities.
- Veterans Hub:The Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s 100 Million Healthier Lives initiative is working toward a goal of 100 million people living healthier lives by 2020. The Veterans Hub is one of the initiative’s seven topical hubs and aims to create a network of organizations and coalitions working to empower Veterans to be the healthiest versions of themselves. The hub program will strive to meet the goal of 20 million Veterans leading healthier lives by increasing food security, access to employment, safe housing, and more.
- Y-USA: This partnership between VHA and Y-USA (the national entity that oversees YMCA facilities across the country) works to provide effective services to Veterans. Since 2015, this partnership has leveraged the resources and expertise of both organizations to promote the well-being of Veterans and their families. VHA employees throughout the country work with local YMCAs to connect Veterans to needed resources in their communities. Veterans can access volunteer opportunities plus services and benefits in the areas of healthy lifestyle programming and community reintegration. In addition, Y-USA is offering free, online, on-demand fitness videos through its “YMCA 360” platform in response to stay-at-home orders issued due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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