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.
As federal, state, and local agencies work with the philanthropic community to create models to outsource or leverage potential efficiencies from the private sector, a unique partnership and grant-making program to support veterans and their families has value and could guide future efforts.
A unique partnership to support private efforts to provide mental health services to veterans and their families could be a model for similar efforts should federal officials decide to expand privately provided health care as part of reform of the VA health system.
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.