Rural Veterans Health Initiatives
Although South Carolina is a small state, we rank seventh in the nation for our Veteran to Civilian population, with 417,515 Veterans living in the state per 2015 Census Data projections. Approximately 75,000 Veterans currently seeking health care at either the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston or the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia are from rural or highly rural areas (per the VA’s Rural Health Resource Center). We know that in addition to the traditional challenges of long distances and lack of transportation faced by rural residents, rural Veterans also face barriers in seeking health care related to a lack of awareness of available resources and even stigma. SCORH’s team of dedicated health care professionals seeks to support rural Veterans through addressing the local health care delivery system in rural areas. By engaging and supporting rural providers in identifying and caring specifically for their Veteran patient populations, more pathways to care are made possible, helping to ensure Veterans are able to access the care they need.
Our goal is to help rural, non-VA health care providers better understand the needs of and ultimately deliver more appropriate care for their Veteran patients. We know that this is challenging for many providers and so we have assembled a wide variety of educational resources and tools to facilitate necessary practice changes, including closely aligning our Veterans’ care support with our Center for Practice Transformation team. In addition, the following specialized services are available to rural providers:
- Connection to State and National Experts in Veterans Health Care Issues
- Technical Assistance with Identifying Veterans in Patient Populations
- Provider Training on Veterans Issues with Peer to Peer Consultative Support
- Veteran Behavioral Health Care Expertise
- For Eligible Providers Treating Veterans with PTSD or PTSD and TBI:
- Teleconsultation with providers from the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston
- Telehealth Treatment Referral and Coordination via the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston
SC Rural Access to Veterans Health Resources (SC RAVHR) – Connecting Rural Primary Care Provider and Veteran Patients with Homebased Telemental Healthcare for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Am I eligible to participate?
Primary care and Behavioral Health Care providers in outpatient primary care settings are eligible. Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Physicians, and Behavioral Healthcare Providers (Psychiatrists, Behavioral healthcare clinicians, Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Independent Social Workers, and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners) are eligible to participate.
Federal Office of Rural Health Policy eligibility. Determine your practice’s eligibility with this mapping tool https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/am-i-ruralor contact Stacey Halford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I determine who my Veteran patients are? One of the key goals of the project is to help you implement a system to identify your Veteran patients, which will help inform the care you provide them. We can help with that.
What’s the time commitment for providers? Providers complete just one teleconference that is an hour long, scheduled when providers are available to participate individually or as a group, depending on provider preference. The patient referral process into HBTMH part of the project will align with your usual referral processes. See below for a brief overview of how the project works.
- Provider or Practice Administrator contacts Stacey Day Halford to learn more about the project and provider/practice eligibility is determined.
- Designee of the practice signs a Letter of Agreement (LOA).
- SC RHAVR Toolkit of orientation materials is emailed/mailed to the provider.
- The provider schedules the teleconference directly with the RHJ VAMC team.
- Providers track monthly PTSD screens conducted with Veteran Patients and refer as appropriate into the RHJ VAMC HBTMH program for assessment and treatment.
- Referred patients are contacted by the VA team and receive HBTMH assessment and treatment, typically 8-12 weekly sessions conducted in their home.
- Patients who lack a good internet connection are loaned a 4G enabled tablet by the RHJ VAMC for treatment purposes for the duration of treatment.
- Per HIPAA guidelines and patient consent, Rural Providers are updated on patients’ treatment acceptance, decline of treatment, treatment completion, and other relevant statuses after referral into HBTMH.
Please check-out this brief video, where a Veteran/Farmer from Manning talks about his experience with the RHJ VAMC’s Home-Based Telemental Health service. Through this project, your patients can access this same treatment. *https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9EXMAfko7c
*Video courtesy of the SC Telehealth Alliance and SCETV
Contact Stacey Day Halford for more information, at 803-454-3850 or email@example.com
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $298,794. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.
- VA Rural Health website
- VA Rural Clergy Training Program information
- NOSORH – Addressing The Needs of Rural Veterans
- We Honor Veterans initiative, resources for Palliative Care or working with elderly Veterans. Veterans may have experiences from their military service that present unique needs at the end of life
- SC Division of Veterans Affairs
- SC Veterans Affairs Offices by County
- SC Thrive, Military and Veterans work
- SC Veterans Policy Academy – a great resource for all SC related Veteran updates and information
Resources for Providers about Veterans Choice Program
- Information about the Veterans Choice program
- Information from HealthNet, Veterans Choice Third Party Administrator for SC
- “Ask the question” campaign uses a simple assessment to identify Veteran patients in non-VA practice settings
Community Provider & Rural Veteran Webinar Series
This SCORH webinar series was developed to inform rural community healthcare providers about culturally competent care in work with Veteran patients. These webinars will broadly cover topics about the Veterans Health Administration and related VA resources available.
Webinar 1: Community Providers and Rural Veterans Healthcare – Culturally Competent Care in Working with Service Members and Veterans
Engaging Service Members and Veterans where they are begins with culturally competent care. Join combat Marine Veteran Lance Newman as he talks about ways in which community providers can make connections with their Veteran patients through Veteran-focused care.
Webinar 2: Community Providers & Rural Veteran Healthcare – A Patient’s Perspective: The Veterans Health Administration
Combat Veteran Lance Newman expands on culture competency to take a deeper look at the Veterans Health Administration and VA resources in South Carolina.
Webinar 3: Community Providers & Rural Veteran Healthcare – End of Life Care Planning with Veteran Patients
SCORH Director of Provider Solutions will lead this webinar to discuss Advance Care Planning, and will include when and how to broach this topic with Veteran patients. Guest presenter Kristin Petty, Rural Health Consultant from the Veterans Rural Health Resource Center/Salt Lake City, will talk about a program to connect rural clergy with resources to support their work with Veterans.