January 2019

Vets Views

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December 28, 2018

VA awards Community Care Network contracts to increase health care access

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) awarded contracts Dec. 28 to manage provider networks for Regions 1, 2 and 3 of VA’s new Community Care Network (CCN), the department’s direct link with community providers that will ensure VA provides the right care at the right time to Veterans. “These contract awards reflect our ongoing commitment to increasing Veterans’ access to care,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “As part of VA’s modernization efforts, we designed the new network based on feedback from Veterans and other stakeholders, along with lessons learned from the Veterans Choice Program.

We are confident this new network will greatly improve customer service for Veterans and timeliness of payments to community providers.” The network will be the standard contract vehicle allowing VA to purchase care for Veterans from community health care providers using industry-standard approaches and guidelines in support of the VA MISSION Act of 2018 to administer services and manage the network to its full potential.

VA will provide care coordination under this new contract. TriWest Healthcare Alliance has expanded its network to support Veteran and provider care coordination across the nation until CCN is fully implemented. Contracts were awarded to the following firm: Region 1 – Optum Public Sector Solutions, Inc. Region 2 – Optum Public Sector Solutions, Inc. Region 3 – Optum Public Sector Solutions, Inc. The contract award for Region 4 is expected by early April 2019. Contract award for Regions 5 and 6 are expected by end of calendar year 2019. Region 1 includes VA medical centers in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. Region 2 covers Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Region 3 will serve Veterans in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and the U.S. Virgin Islands. VA is committed to delivering efficient, safe, timely and quality health care to all Veterans across the nation.



December 28, 2018

VA partners with The Independence Fund to help prevent Veteran suicide Operation Resiliency will connect Veterans, caregivers with education and support systems

WASHINGTON — Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced its partnership with The Independence Fund to provide wellness and mental health education to Veterans, caregivers and families. VA and The Independence Fund will collaborate on suicide prevention initiatives to connect Veterans with care and support before they reach a crisis point. “Every Veteran suicide is a tragedy, and our goal is to prevent suicide among all Veterans nationwide — even those who do not seek care within our health system,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

“The Independence Fund is an important ally to reach Veterans on this top clinical priority for VA, as well caregivers and their families.” The two organizations will work together on Operation Resiliency to encourage Veterans to take part in suicide prevention initiatives. This includes a 2019 retreat that will bring together at-risk Veterans who served in the same unit during deployments.

Founded in 2007, The Independence Fund empowers the nation's severely wounded, injured or ill Veterans to overcome physical, mental and emotional wounds incurred in the line of duty. It has a goal of improving the lives of both Veterans and their families through the organization’s mobility, caregiver, adaptive sports, and advocacy programs, while also bridging the gap of unmet needs of Veterans' caregivers.

The Fund works to give Veterans the best mobility device options available, as well as promote their mental and physical health. Suicide is a national public health issue that affects communities everywhere. VA is engaging communities nationwide to deliver care and support to Veterans where they live, work and thrive. Partnerships such as this with The Independence Fund are an important part of VA’s National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide. Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, can call the Veteran & Military Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, send a text message to 838255 or chat online at Reporters covering Veteran mental health issues can visit for important guidance on how to communicate about suicide.