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Veterans Lack of Access to quality healthcare


Thesis: An Integrated healthcare computer system would help to eliminate the problematic lack of access to quality healthcare and treatment for our US veterans.


  1. History of Veterans Affairs Healthcare facilities


  • Access eligibility requirements for healthcare services and treatment

  • Healthcare services offered at the Veterans Affairs facilities

  • Statistics regarding those utilizing Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities


2. Barriers to healthcare treatment at Veterans Affairs facilities

  • Lack of affordable housing for veterans

  • Prolonged wait times for scheduling appointments

  • Lack of qualified healthcare professionals

  • Increased substance use for veterans

  • High suicide rate for veterans dealing with mental health issues


3. Possible Solutions

  • Contracting with community providers to decrease wait time and increase access to qualified providers.

  • Use alternative housing options as a temporary shelter to decrease those experiencing housing insecurities.


4. Proposed Solution

  • Initiate an integrated computerized healthcare system for the Veterans Affairs and community healthcare providers

  • Seek political support and funding for federal programs to provide financial assistance for those facing housing hardships.

  • Benefits of Integrated healthcare system

  • Improved veterans healthcare satisfaction rates

  • Cost efficiency for health insurance plans

  • Diversity of options for substance and alcohol treatment

  • Womens healthcare sensitivity regarding military sexual trauma

  • Increased access to qualified healthcare providers in rural areas


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Veterans Lack of Access to quality healthcare

In the US, being a veteran is one of the most common jobs that are achievable especially, for many youths whose prospects to acquire other jobs are low. Therefore, many try their luck by joining the forces sent for wars and such operations. However, many may experience injuries in the combat field, including physical and mental injuries (Hester). Once the veterans return, the probability of a significant number may suffer from suicide attempts or being in clashes with their families is high. Due to these reasons, the US government sought public and private mental facilities to offer returning veterans aid.

However, to access these Health Care facilities, they need to have good mental health insurance coverage (Hester). Therefore, many low-wage earners are unable to afford the supplement mental health care comprehensive insurance plans. When a law was established in Florida concerning the mentally challenged, many veterans gained access to Veteran Affairs facilities to receive a mental check, counseling, and other services related to mental health. In 2016, more than 1.5 million out of the 5 million veterans who visited the Veteran Affairs facilities were diagnosed with mental issues from the records. Since 2004, this was probably a 31% increase in the number of mentally challenged veterans.

Homelessness amongst veterans is one of the barriers to good healthcare. Lack of cheap affordable shelter is of great concern, and the need calls for quick action from the government, federal and society. In a survey in 2016, 9.2% of adult veterans were verified to be homeless. This state symbolically revealed a government's failure to take care of the veterans who served in the military. However, the Veteran Affairs conducted an annual national survey through Community Homelessness Assessments, Local Education, and Networking groups (CHALENG) to assess homeless veterans' needs and the barriers they face to a successful recovery.

In addition, the lack of qualified health care professionals is another challenge. However, the VA has tried to invest in the mental health care workforce, hiring 6000 new mental health care workers since 2005. Unlike the previous times when almost 21 veterans used to die each day by suicide, the increase in the workforce ensures urgent matters are dealt with since some veterans could be contemplating suicide. This move addresses another problem of prolonged wait times for scheduling appointments.

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Due to mental challenges, the veterans may also indulge in drug and substance abuse and are associated with harmful effects. A study done on military personnel revealed that 30% of suicide deaths by veterans were preceded by alcohol and drug abuse. Both males and females involved in high-risk behavior death were 20%, of which alcohol and substance abuse are involved. Besides, misuse of prescribed drugs such as opioids is on the rise.  Whenever depression and stress knocks a veteran, suicide thoughts are inevitable. When the veterans come back to society from combat areas, their mental health intensifies due to combat stress, which may lead to anxiety, depression, alcoholism, and unemployment. Unfortunately, most veterans may decide to commit suicide. From the statistics, it is evident that suicide cases are very rampant amongst men than women.

Nevertheless, there is still hope for a solution despite all the challenges. Contracting with community providers to decrease wait time and increase access to qualified providers. For instance, Veterans Affairs implemented a screening facility that is of comprehensive coverage. These screenings helped identify risky and unhealthy drinking of alcohol and substance abuse. Once identified, the VA intervenes and provides immediate treatment to those addicted to alcohol. According to the Veterans Affairs department, of guidelines for Substance Use Disorders (SUDs), if further evaluation and treatment are assigned to a patient after the brief screening, the patient should be offered a special treatment (Teeters et al.). Besides, these interventions help in manipulating the patients to focus on other thoughts away from drug and substance abuse, and abstain from them. On another randomized study done by Walker about client-centered motivation, it revealed that interviewing 242 army personnel and motivation, the drinking of alcohol per week went lower than the other weeks.

While efforts have been made to ensure housing for the veterans, it was found out that still; many of them experienced homelessness, social issues, and other health difficulties (Tsai et al.). For instance, in a study conducted, it was found out that approximately 11% of veterans who quit the Veterans Affairs housing program returned to homelessness after one year, and among them, almost 10% were expelled. Besides lack of housing, the veterans were found out to be having other challenges such as drug and substance abuse, mismanagement of money, indulgence in criminal activities, and poor social relations.  The CHALLENGE initiative, conducts surveys that are distributed annually by VA staff. The respondents are asked to identify homeless veterans' needs. VA assessment centers for the homeless, such as Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans, come in to offer aid by providing a housing solution to the homeless veterans. In 2012, estimated 6849 veterans (11.3% of the PIT) completed the survey conducted by CHALLENG. In 2013, there was an increase to 7741 veterans.

The facilitated computerized healthcare system for the veteran’s affairs and community health care providers is defined as the coordination and navigating through the healthcare services, to provide the care they need without unnecessary misuse of the services. Across a continued intense service, the VA coordinates care to all the veterans, some with chronic medical illness, biopsychosocial conditions and other complexities. Coordination of care is essential for a recovering patient (Cordasco et al.). Some of its benefits are cutting costs, increasing satisfactory levels and improving patients care experiences.   

On the other hand, since veterans are people who served in the military and the nation, they deserve urgent care—provision of comprehensive mental insurance covers and mental facilities to handle their post-combat stress and depressions. Therefore, the Veteran Affairs facilities ought to seek political support and funding for the federal programs, to provide financial assistance for those facing housing hardships, mental issues, and other related issues.

The integrated healthcare system comes with benefits. Some of them are improved veterans’ health care satisfaction rates; this is achieved by adding more qualified medical personnel, including psychiatrists. Cost efficiency for health insurance plans, diversity of options for substance and alcohol treatment, women’s healthcare sensitivity regarding military sexual trauma, increased access to qualified healthcare providers in rural areas (Cordasco et al.). However, for these benefits to be realized, Veterans Affairs needs to closely follow the providers to account for the full access. The VA system takes care of many veterans with mental health needs. In a study conducted by Benzer and colleagues, they evaluated how veterans with mental health needs require special care coordination than those that do not have mental illnesses.

For veterans with the most complicated care needs, programs have been suggested to provide care. Mattock and colleagues researched 276 veterans; they found out that female veterans who received mental health care based on pregnancy had lower care coordination scaling than those that did not use post-partum mental healthcare. The veteran administration needs to create a strategy that focuses on intervening and preventing suicide.


The veterans need mental examination and ready facilities to cater for their mental well-being to avoid suicide. It has been widely reported that the VA needs to conduct a review and come up with a plan of developing systematic mental health strategies. All services should have health screenings and early intervention for the members before returning to civilian life. This is an effort, which entails recognizing the various signs and symptoms that veterans may exhibit before attempting suicide. For example, depression, insufficient sleep, weight loss, expressing to family members, how they feel they are a burden on their spouse, alcohol consumption, and drug use. Given that information frequently paints a more accurate picture of potential mental disorders and signs, a veteran may be suffering from Suicidal ideation. A plan of intervention based on these indications could be the solution to the veterans’ health.






Works cited

Cordasco, Kristina M. et al. "Improving Care Coordination For Veterans Within VA And Across Healthcare Systems". Journal Of General Internal Medicine, vol 34, no. S1, 2019, pp. 1-3. Springer Science And Business Media LLC, doi:10.1007/s11606-019-04999-4. Accessed 10 Apr 2021.

Hester, Ronald D. "Lack Of Access To Mental Health Services Contributing To The High Suicide Rates Among Veterans". International Journal Of Mental Health Systems, vol 11, no. 1, 2017. Springer Science And Business Media LLC, doi:10.1186/s13033-017-0154-2. Accessed 10 Apr 2021.

Teeters, Jenni et al. "Substance Use Disorders In Military Veterans: Prevalence And Treatment Challenges". Substance Abuse And Rehabilitation, Volume 8, 2017, pp. 69-77. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.2147/sar.s116720. Accessed 10 Apr 2021.

Tsai, Jack et al. "Needs Of Homeless Veterans: 5 Years Of The CHALENG Survey 2012–16". Journal Of Public Health, vol 41, no. 1, 2018, pp. e16-e24. Oxford University Press (OUP), doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdy076. Accessed 10 Apr 2021.

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