The goal of RAND's military health policy research is to help the U.S. Department of Defense and Veterans Health Administration meet the challenges of providing the best care possible to this diverse population, while containing costs.
Ill or injured military personnel and veterans and people with dementia are unique populations, but they give us a preview of the enormous long-term care challenges Americans will face in the decades to come.
Just like U.S. civilians, those serving in the Air Force use the Internet, email, texting, and social media for entertainment and to stay in touch with friends and family. But technology use can be disruptive, and “addiction” could signal broader issues.
Last week, President Obama signed a bill to overhaul care provided by the Veterans Health Administration. This is an important step, but attention to veterans' experiences receiving care, particularly veterans in need of mental health and substance use care, should be an essential component to ongoing efforts to improve quality.
What's happening in the mental health world of the U.S. military and veterans is of great interest to all American psychiatrists. The local impact of recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan runs much deeper than just the number of veterans in a particular practice or community.
Caring for a current or former U.S. servicemember can take a toll on family, friends, and acquaintances. Changes are needed to both provide assistance to caregivers and to help them make plans for the future.
Not all veterans wish to seek services at or through the VA, and many may not meet eligibility criteria. The VA is a critical component of the health care delivery system for former U.S. servicemembers, but it cannot and should not comprise the system alone.