October 7th, 2015 15:53 EST
Defense Health Agency Helps Wounded Warriors Obtain Best Care
The Defense Health Agency gained its full operational capability on Oct. 1, which may appear to be just a plans and policy change, but it`s making a real difference in care for warfighters.
James Rodriguez, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Warrior Care Policy, said the transition over the past couple of years has provided better non-medical care and better access to programs by streamlining business processes, improving communication and enhancing existing working relationships with partners, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs.
This better access and closer relationship will allow wounded, ill and injured service members to make a smoother transition from the Department of Defense into the VA, " Rodriguez said. Our programs assist people as they progress through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System, which provides a fair, predictable, and quality disability evaluation process to help as they transition to the next stage of their lives. "
Obtaining Best Care for Wounded Warriors
He said moving to full operational capability helped his organization, which works to ensure wounded warriors have world-class care and support by solidifying partnerships and relationships with leaders in military treatment facilities and clinics.
For example, wounded warriors found it easier to transition into DoD recovery programs, such as adaptive sports or federal internship programs.
Leaders in the medical and non-medical communities continue to work together to provide the best opportunity for long-term success for service members and their families, " he said.
Some members of the senior staff in Warrior Care Policy are assigned to DHA operations but work on-site within the WCP office, allowing Rodriguez and his entire team to work within both organizations for matters falling under the warrior care umbrella. The result has been the seamless execution of policies across the entire Military Health System, he said. For the future, Warrior Care Policy has developed a roadmap of goals and objectives for the next three years that include both DHA and Health Affairs strategies and milestones.
Rodriguez said DHA`s reaching of its full operational capability has streamlined the process of getting resources to wounded warriors, something those service members and veterans deserve.
Our nation expects it, our leadership expects it, and we expect to provide the best possible care and resources to our wounded and ill before their transition to the civilian world, " Rodriguez said. We owe them that much.
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