Resources for Improving the Health of Veterans
When I visit Veterans Support Organization (VSO) chapters across the nation, I see many veterans in poor health.
These men and women were once in prime shape upon entering the military. They had to be as stipulated by military entry rules.
However, years later, these veterans have been through a lot. Many have lost their homes, jobs, and families. They haven’t been to doctors. They learned to live with aches and ailments.
It shouldn’t be like this.
Veterans have health benefits. There are lots of great healthcare resources for them.
Let’s start with VA health centers. They are all over the U.S., even near rural areas. Find them through Veterans Integrated Service Networks, which lists medical centers, veteran centers, and outpatient clinics that offer primary and specialized care.
The VA’s National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention also has several programs to keep veterans in good health. For example, one program called MOVE! assists veterans in staying active and healthy.
Another resource, MyHealthVet, helps veterans manage their medical priorities through an online prescription refill service, personal health journal, and links to Federal and VA benefits.
In addition, MedlinePlus, the National Institutes of Health's website for patients and their families and friends, has an extensive section specifically on military health, with valuable information on certain conditions and medicines.
A recent study by researchers at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle found that military veterans have poorer health compared to active servicemen and civilians. And previous studies suggest that veterans are at higher risk for symptoms like hypertension, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, and obesity. Some of these are a direct result of serious injuries sustained while in active service.
Veterans need to take advantage of healthcare programs that are available to them. They’ve served our nation and have worked hard for their benefits.
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Richard VanHouten is founder and CEO of Veterans Support Organization.