National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships
OCE Partnership Impact
VA partnership with Parkinson’s Foundation will make life better for Veterans living with Parkinson’s disease
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Parkinson’s Foundation announced in May that the organizations will collaborate to make life better for Veterans living with Parkinson’s disease. VA estimates that 110,000 Veterans have Parkinson’s disease, which is a disorder of the central nervous system. Symptoms include tremors, poor balance, and delayed movements.
VA has worked to help and support Veterans with Parkinson’s disease for years—in 2010, the administration recognized that Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during their military service may be eligible for disability compensation and health care. There is some evidence that exposure to Agent Orange is associated with an increased chance of developing Parkinson’s disease. In 2000, VA created the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (PADRECCs) at six sites throughout the U.S. PADRECCs are centers where teams of leaders in the fields of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders provide state-of-the-art care to Veterans. At PADRECCs, neurologists, neurosurgeons, nurses, and researchers also conduct research and coordinate outreach and education programs to surrounding regions.
Veterans living with Parkinson’s disease can also turn to VA by visiting the Agent Orange website or calling the Special Health Issues helpline (1-800-749-8387); by viewing the My Parkinson’s Story video series on YouTube; or by joining a monthly telephone support group.
Now that VA has partnered with Parkinson’s Foundation, the services available to Veterans living with the disease will grow in number and scope. The partnership, which will be executed through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), has three main goals: to increase Veterans’ and providers’ access to Parkinson’s disease information and resources; to increase educational opportunities for VHA staff on Parkinson’s disease management and modifying therapies; and to improve services coordination and navigation for Veterans with Parkinson’s disease.
VHA will encourage VA medical facilities to collaborate with Parkinson’s Foundation and develop local partnerships, which will help each individual facility have more support and resources for Veterans with the disease. A primary goal of this collaboration is to ensure that new knowledge and research about Parkinson’s disease is easily understood and of practical use, so that it can improve the lives of Veterans with Parkinson’s.
“VA and Parkinson’s Foundation are working to provide additional resources, education, and care to help make life better for people with Parkinson’s disease,” said Mr. John L. Lehr, president and chief executive officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “Our collaboration will help improve Veterans’ access to the services and support that they need to better manage the disease throughout every stage of their journey.”
Dr. John E. Duda, national director of PADRECCs, said of the partnership: “I see this collaboration as an opportunity for VA and the Parkinson’s Foundation to synergize their efforts at improving the lives of Veterans living with Parkinson’s disease. VA health care providers, Veterans, and their caregivers will greatly benefit from increased awareness and access to the wealth of educational activities and support provided by the Parkinson’s Foundation community.”
“In turn, the Parkinson’s Foundation will be better able to provide the Veterans who go to their website with greater awareness of what clinical services are available at the six PADRECCs and the National VA Parkinson’s Disease Consortium Network, as well as the programs, benefits, and educational opportunities that VA provides for Veterans with Parkinson’s disease,” Dr. Duda continued.
This partnership was facilitated by the VHA Office of Community Engagement (OCE) for the VHA Office of Specialty Care Services. OCE coordinates and supports partnership creation throughout VHA.
For more information on Parkinson’s disease support at VA, please visit: https://www.parkinsons.va.gov/patients.asp.
For more information on OCE’s partnership work, please visit: https://www.va.gov/healthpartnerships/.
Posted September 03, 2020