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OCE's partnerships utilize coordinated efforts to increase Veterans' access to quality health care, wherever they are. Here are a few of the partnerships OCE supports:
Humane Society of the United States (HSUS): In 2017, VA announced a partnership with HSUS called Operation Hero-Animal Bond. The partnership, which can pair Veterans with rescue animals, encourages Veterans to consider pet ownership. It also encourages Veterans to consider participating in volunteer opportunities with local community animal shelters and humane societies, which can reduce the social isolation some Veterans experience. Through this partnership, OCE and HSUS work together to communicate the many benefits that pets and Veterans bring to each other’s lives.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.