Listening to veterans’ experiences allows for better assessment and diagnosis of their physical and psychological conditions. It is imperative that their conditions are not only diagnosed properly but each veteran is given specific directives for care and, if appropriate, referral to receive follow-up care.  When recommending a referral to a specialist, reassure them that many people find it beneficial to receive additional support. 

Finally, understanding available health care coverage options will help ensure that each veteran has access to needed care.  Currently, 44% of veterans are enrolled in the VA Health Care system, provided by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, exclusively for veterans.6,7 Employment-based insurances, state health care plans, Medicaid, and Medicare cover most other veterans.7 Discuss health care coverage options with veterans to support their continuation of care as they transition back into society.

Veterans’ experiences and needs are distinct from the civilian population. Understanding these differences and susceptibilities while using the biopsychosocial model can help health care providers effectively diagnose and treat the men and women who have proudly served their country.

References:

1.      Veterans’ health care: doctors outside the VA need to know more about the veterans they treat.  The Conversation.  https://theconversation.com/veterans-health-care-doctors-outside-the-va-need-to-know-more-about-the-veterans-they-treat-51283. Published January 21, 2016. Accessed June 13, 2016.

2.      PTSD: National Center for PTSD.  U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/PTSD-overview/basics/how-common-is-ptsd.asp. Updated August 13, 2015. Accessed June 13, 2016

3.      Myers K. Effective Treatment of Military Clients. Counseling Today. http://ct.counseling.org/2013/08/effective-treatment-of-military-clients/. Published August 1, 2013. Accessed June 24, 2016.

4.      Military Health History. Pocket card for health professions trainees and clinicians. http://www.va.gov/oaa/archive/Military-Health-History-Card-for-print.pdf.  Accessed on June 24, 2016.

5.      Engel GL. The clinical application of the biopsychosocial model. Am J Psychiatry.  1980;137:535-44.

6.      Health care coverage options for military veterans. https://www.healthcare.gov/veterans/. Accessed June 3, 2016.

7.      Panangala SV. Veterans’ Medical Care: FY2016 Appropriations. CRS [serial online]. December 7, 2015; 1-39.