National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships
Veteran Community Partnerships
In August, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Community Engagement (OCE) published an article about the milestones and successes of the Veteran Community Partnership (VCP) initiative. The VCP team also shared its plans to expand the program. Those plans are full steam ahead thanks to the work of VHA staff members like Dr. Jamie D. Davis, health systems specialist for OCE and VCP collaborations lead. VHA will place a VCP at each of the 170 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers (VAMCs) by September 2024.
VCPs are partnerships—and each is part of the larger VCP initiative—that bring community leaders, some of whom are Veterans, and organizations together with VAMC programs to help Veterans access health care and supportive services at VA and beyond. VCPs offer help in areas like palliative care and military discharge status, or hold celebratory events and household donation drives for Veterans, and much more. The VCP initiative is a joint project of OCE and the VHA Offices of Geriatrics and Extended Care, Rural Health, and Caregiver Support.
There are currently 35 active VCPs, and another 26 VAMCs have received training to develop a VCP. These trainings, Dr. Davis explained, help potential VCPs develop a strategic plan for their projects; by the end of these one-day trainings, VCP members will have gained the knowledge needed to implement their initial plan. More trainings roll out virtually beginning in January 2021 on a by-VISN basis—VISNs (Veterans Integrated Service Networks) are areas in the country where VHA provides Veterans care.
The VCP expansion plan, Dr. Davis said, has a focus on helping older Veterans and those with life-limiting illnesses in areas like bridging the digital divide or increasing the number of people with experience in geriatric care who participate in VCPs. To meet the expansion goal, the trainings and development of VCPs are all about teamwork.
“VCPs bring VHA programs and community agencies together to increase access to care and services, particularly those VA cannot provide,” Dr. Davis said. “This is a true collaboration where community programs and VHA are involved equally.”
As collaborations lead for the VCP initiative, Dr. Davis works with other VA programs to encourage them to participate with VCP. Because she represents OCE, VHA’s partnerships hub, her expertise in partnerships bolsters the initiative at large. In the end, Veterans benefit.
“VCPs bring greater access to benefits and services for Veterans, caregivers, and families because VA is unable to provide some services that community programs can. If a Veteran goes to a community agency that’s part of a VCP and isn’t enrolled in VA benefits, there’s an opportunity to educate that Veteran and help get them into VA,” Dr. Davis said.
Expanding VCPs throughout VA, she continued, “unites VHA and community programs and offers an opportunity to coordinate partnership activities that provide better care to Veterans and their families.”
For more on OCE’s partnership work, please visit: VA.gov/healthpartnerships.
Posted January 4, 2021