U.S. service members separated from the military for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine were largely separated with a general discharge under honorable conditions. While they may be eligible for health care and disability compensation from the VA, they are not eligible for G.I. Bill benefits. How have they fared as they entered civilian society unvaccinated and with limited benefits?
A bakery in Washington, D.C., brings together service-disabled post–9/11 veterans, military spouses, and caregivers. For five months, they are immersed in an intensive entrepreneurial-focused business program. It's become a model for helping veterans and others in the military community reestablish their lives.
Posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, traumatic brain injury, and substance use disorders are common among post-9/11 veterans and can interfere with their employment, family life, engagement with their communities, and overall well-being. A shared definition and standards for high-quality care can help organizations better support veterans.
A new standard of care proposed by RAND researchers aims to redefine high-quality care for veterans with a traumatic brain injury or posttraumatic stress disorder. But it also could serve as a template for making health care more effective, more consistent, and more responsive for more patients.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides health care to over 9 million veterans through its network of medical facilities. Improved infrastructure could help attract veterans to care, boost provider morale, and ensure high-quality care.
Terri Tanielian, a senior behavioral scientist at RAND and an internationally recognized expert on military and veteran health, spent six months as a fellow with the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. She helped the committee develop a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy.
Many post-9/11 veterans who have PTSD or depression also struggle with substance use. There are clinically proven treatments to help break the cycle of the co-occurring disorders, but the VA and other facilities need guidance on how to expand and enhance treatment opportunities for these veterans.