April 2019

Vets Views

Page 3 


Retirement Services Officers (RSOs)

Do you have questions on benefits, SBP, Retiree Appreciation Days or anything else retirement-related? Then contact the RSO for your area or go to the Army Retirement Services website (Note: That’s the number 1 after the g).

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Innovative treatment for Vets with Type 2 diabetes

Currently, VA offers medical care including diet counseling, weight loss programs, and blood glucose monitoring for the 1.5 million Veterans enrolled in VA health care who have Type 2 diabetes.

When a person has Type 2 diabetes, the body’s resistance to insulin — a hormone that helps move sugar into cells — causes high blood glucose levels.  This, in turn, may cause other health problems, such as damage to nerves and blood vessels, increased risk of stroke or heart disease, or kidney failure.

Dr. Laurence J. Meyer, chief officer of specialty care services at VA, said that Veterans who carry excess body weight may be at risk for a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. More than 50 percent of Veterans in VHA care are overweight or obese.

Now, there will be an innovative treatment that will offer Veterans another diabetes management option in addition to those already available in VA.

VA’s Office of Specialty Care Services is partnering with Virta Health Corp., an online specialty medical clinic, to offer Veterans this option.

Virta focuses on reversing Type 2 diabetes through noninvasive treatments including dietary guidance and the use of medical specialists’ expertise, peer support, and health coaching.

Through this partnership, Virta will offer free individualized diabetes management planning to a limited number of Veterans for the length of treatment, which is typically one year.

Virta’s approach This partnership with Virta will add to the current Type 2 diabetes care offered by VA. Veterans will receive support from Virta’s personal health coaches as well as guidance in following the ketogenic diet plan, which Dr. Meyer says is shown to lead to significant weight loss.

A ketogenic diet is a very low-carbohydrate diet that can help people burn fat more easily. The personal health coaches are nutrition experts who work closely with patients to answer questions and help them develop healthy eating habits.

Diabetes services available through Telehealth Veterans currently enrolled in VHA health care will be able to access the diabetes management services through their local VHA medical provider or VHA Telehealth Services, bringing the benefits of this partnership to Veterans in their homes.

“Many Veterans have trouble managing their diabetes and blood sugar, and many struggles with their weight and sticking to any diet,” Dr. Meyer said. “This leads to a lot of functional limitations. This partnership is potentially a way that some Veterans might benefit from this care on an individual basis.”

Partnerships augment VA services VHA’s Office of Community Engagement (OCE) is a trusted resource and catalyst for the growth of effective partnerships at the national, state, and community level, and facilitates the establishment of partnerships such as this one. VHA is committed to working with Veterans to optimize their health and well-being.

Working with nongovernmental community partners supports Veterans’ freedom of choice in health care, expands access to care and services that augment what VHA offers, and exemplifies VHA’s priority of bringing Veterans quality care, wherever they are, through partnerships.

For more information on VHA’s planned work with Virta or to receive the services offered through this partnership, Veterans can speak with their local VA health care providers. Learn more about OCE’s work to establish partnerships that prioritize Veterans’ health and well-being.

American Diabetes Association Diabetes Alert Day is March 26, 2019.

Observed annually on the fourth Tuesday in March, Diabetes Alert Day is a one-day “wake-up call” that focuses on the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of understanding your risk.

We encourage you to find out if you – or someone you love – is at risk for type 2 diabetes by taking this quick and simple Diabetes Risk Test.