(Washington, D.C.) – “Vietnam Veterans of America applauds the current efforts of those in the healthcare industry to use advances in information technology to create, as President Obama has called for, a national system of electronic health records (EHRs) similar to that used by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA),” said John Rowan, VVA National President. “As we mark Health IT Week, we urge that any such system include significant questions that develop a veteran’s history of military service.
“More than 75 percent of America’s veterans are treated by clinicians in the private sector,” Rowan noted. “However, most private-sector providers do not identify these veterans. The reality is that military service can pose potential risks to the health of those who serve. For the most part, immediate health issues–bullet or shrapnel wounds, traumatic amputations, obvious injuries to the brain–are treated properly, initially by military medical personnel, then by clinicians at VA healthcare facilities. However, some health conditions–Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), various cancers, and other illnesses that may not be discernible or may not develop until years later–are all too often not connected by veterans to their time in service. And many of these conditions are presumed by the VA to have derived from one’s military service. Information regarding these health conditions can be found on www.veteranshealth.org
“To ensure that these service-related health issues are tracked,” Rowan said, “VVA strongly supports the interoperable exchange of healthcare information. The quality and cost-effectiveness of care delivery will be greatly enhanced by the timely, accurate, and secure exchange of healthcare data between providers. And for this to come to pass, a complete military medical/health history needs to be taken for all veterans by their clinicians.”
“VVA looks forward to working closely with the Obama Administration, Congress, and the healthcare community to ensure that this happens as quickly as possible.”