Brooke Army Medical Center

FORT SAM HOUSTON, TX, UNITED STATES

Story by Lori Newman
Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

By Lori Newman
Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – Brooke Army Medical Center offers a full array of behavioral health services to active duty military members and TRICARE beneficiaries through multiple clinics and specialties.

“Our behavioral health services are pretty extensive and customized to the different patient populations we see here,” said Army Maj. Lonnie Bradford, chief of BAMC outpatient clinic.

Services range from child and adolescent care, clinical health, multi-disciplinary behavioral health services, clinical psychology, neuropsychology, inpatient services and a residential treatment program for substance abuse.

Access to Care

Behavioral health services are embedded within all the primary care clinics in BAMC as well as the outlying clinics. Primary care providers work hand-in-hand with behavioral health providers to make sure patients obtain behavioral health referrals quickly to ensure patients have access to the care they need.

“We try to be in every clinic at every location to be able to offer services quickly and easily and take down as many barriers people may have by making behavioral health care accessible,” Bradford said.

BAMC has two Multi-Disciplinary Behavioral Health clinics for service members who need behavioral health care. BAMC Multi-Disciplinary clinic will relocate to 7E on April 20. The other clinic is on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston at 4178 Petroleum Drive, Building 3528R, near the RV Park. Both clinics offer walk-in appointments for military personnel from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Students who are enrolled in the Army Medical Department Center and School, and Medical Education and Training Campus programs can utilize Campus Behavioral Health Services in the CPT Jennifer M. Moreno Primary Care Clinic on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. The clinic hours are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“We have tailored our services and created a program within our clinics to grant immediate access to care for our most vulnerable patient population, our service members,” said Army Maj. David Keller, chief of Multi-Disciplinary Outpatient Clinic.

“Service members who feel they need immediate behavioral health support can walk-in to these clinics during normal hours of operation,” Bradford said. “The vast majority of the patients we see are self-referral. They can either call for an appointment or just walk into the clinic.”

The Intensive Outpatient Behavioral Health Program also located in the Moreno Clinic provides services for active duty personnel who need a higher level of care than traditional outpatient therapy. The program helps service members address anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts.

The Child and Family Behavioral Health Service at BAMC provides individual, family, group and medication therapy for children up to 18 years old, as well as family members.

BAMC also offers inpatient behavioral health services and an inpatient residential treatment program.

Bradford is one of two board-certified neuropsychologists within the Army. Neuropsychology services are available by consult from a referring medical provider.

Clinical Neuropsychology is a specialty in professional psychology that applies principles of assessment and intervention based upon the scientific study of human behavior as it relates to normal and abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. Clinical neuropsychologists address neurobehavioral problems related to acquired or developmental disorders of the nervous system such as dementia, vascular disorders, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, traumatic brain injury, seizure disorders and learning disabilities.

“Patients can also come into the emergency department if they feel they are unsafe at any time. The BAMC ED is staffed 24/7 with a behavioral health consultant,” Bradford said.

Benefits of Military Care

Both Bradford and Keller agree that seeking behavioral health services at the military treatment facility is beneficial for military families. Military providers have a greater understanding of the unique challenges that military families face, such as frequent deployments and moves, post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.

“The military is a unique culture and it has unique challenges,” Bradford said. “There is no other health care system that is comparable to ours in terms of scientifically guided treatments.”

Another unique aspect of receiving behavioral health services at BAMC is the fact that patient satisfaction is closely monitored. Each time a patient comes in for an appointment they are asked a series of questions to gauge how satisfied they are with their care and their provider.

“We monitor really closely how satisfied our beneficiaries are with our services, because that’s very important to us,” Bradford explained. “We don’t just want to be effective, we want to provide services that people will use and feel like they are benefiting greatly from.”

Another benefit to seeking behavioral health services within the military health system is the wait time for appointments in most cases is much shorter than seeking care in the civilian sector.

“The waiting period here at BAMC to see a psychiatrist on average is less than 14 days,” Keller said. “In the community the waiting period for an appointment with a licensed psychiatrist can be up to three or four months.”

Eliminating the Stigma

Service members are not required to tell their chain of command when they are seeking behavioral health services.

“We follow the same HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations that all health care providers must follow,” Bradford stressed. “Ethically we have to protect the privacy of our patients.”

There are cases where disclosure of something may be warranted, such as if the patient is threatening to harm themselves or someone else.

“In that case, we would disclose the minimum information necessary in order to keep the person safe or to take steps to help them out,” Bradford assured.

Bradford believes that having behavioral health services available within the medical clinics will help to alleviate some of the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health issues.

Keller agrees. “Including behavioral health topics in medical discussions as part of the medical treatment team shows all of our beneficiaries and professional colleagues that it’s an organic illness just as cancer or diabetes or other illnesses,” Keller said.

Another way to help eliminate the stigma of behavioral health issues is to have senior military leaders share their own stories and experiences, Keller said.

“The main thing we try to do is make it as easy as possible for our patients to receive the help they need,” Bradford said. “Access is very important.”

There are several resources available to military beneficiaries, including the Military Crisis Line, which is available 24/7 at no cost, 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Military OneSource website, https://www.militaryonesource.mil/, also has several resources available to military families.

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TRICARE Encourages Feedback

ITALY
05.18.2018
Courtesy Story
U.S. Army Garrison Italy

U.S. ARMY HEALTH CLINIC – VICENZA, Italy — Are you or another TRICARE beneficiary getting care with a TRICARE network provider off post? Did you know the TRICARE Overseas Program has an official grievance process? (It can be used for compliments, too.)

Patient participation in this process ensures TRICARE gains valuable feedback regarding services provided in the overseas community.
Grievances may include topics such as quality of health care or services, behavior of providers, performance of care and patient safety concerns. Complaints and grievances can be filed by anyone, including a patient, family member, unit member, support staff or provider by email to TOPGlobalQualityAssu@internationalsos.com.

Patients may also submit a grievance by phone at +44 20-8762-8384 option 1 or option 4.

Remember to include contact information, including beneficiary name, address and telephone number, the individual or institutional provider’s contact information, beneficiary’s date of birth and a full description of the issue or concern, including date and times of the event(s).

The TRICARE area office works to resolve grievances within 60 days of receipt, according to the TRICARE Overseas Program website. More information about the grievance process is available at
http://www.tricare-overseas.com/beneficiaries/resources/compliments-grievances-and-appeals.

Because the United States Army Health Center-Vicenza team cares about patients and wants to help facilitate an expedited response, it is important to keep them in the loop on a grievance or compliment by sending a copy of your submission to usarmy.vicenza.medcom-ermc.list.vzhc-patient-representative@mail.mil.

Anyone who needs assistance with completing the grievance process form, please see the health center patient advocate, Tamara Passut. Her office is located on the 2nd floor, Room 1C11 of the health center. Reach her also by calling DSN 636-9508. comm. 0444-61-9508.

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Vet Center Program

The Vet Center Program was established by Congress in 1979 out of the recognition that a significant number of Vietnam era vets were still experiencing readjustment problems. Vet Center Programs are community based and part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In April 1991, in response to the Persian Gulf War, Congress extended the eligibility to veterans who served during other periods of armed hostilities after the Vietnam era. Those other periods are identified as Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, and Kosovo/Bosnia.
In October 1996, Congress extended the eligibility to include WWII and Korean Combat Veterans. The goal of the Vet Center program is to provide a broad range of counseling, outreach, and referral services to eligible veterans in order to help them make a satisfying post-war readjustment to civilian life. On April 1, 2003 the Secretary of Veterans Affairs extended eligibility for Vet Center Program services to veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and on June 25, 2003 Vet Center eligibility was extended to veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and subsequent operations within the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).
The family members of all veterans listed above are eligible for Vet Center services as well. On August 5, 2003 VA Secretary Anthony J. Principi authorized Vet Centers to furnish bereavement counseling services to surviving parents, spouses, children and siblings of service members who die of any cause while on active duty, to include federally activated Reserve and National Guard personnel.

ELIGIBILITY:

Any Veterans and active duty Service members, to include members of the National Guard and Reserve components, who:

Have served on active military duty in any combat theater or area of hostility*
Experienced a military sexual trauma;
Provided direct emergent medical care or mortuary services, while serving on active military duty, to the casualties of war, or;
Served as a member of an unmanned aerial vehicle crew that provided direct support to operations in a combat zone or area of hostility.
Vietnam Era veterans who have accessed care at a Vet Center prior to January 1, 2004

Vet Center services are also provided to family members of Veterans and Service members for military related issues when it is found aid in the readjustment of those that have served. This includes bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death.

CLICK HERE to learn how the Vet Center Program can help you.

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Next Step Service Dogs

The mission of Next Step Service Dogs is to empower positive change for active duty, veterans and first responders (clients) with invisible disabilities such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) through the use of expertly-trained service dogs.
These amazing dogs enable the clients to take the next step forward in their lives.

Next Step Service Dogs vision is threefold:

Increase the number of service dogs that serve our men and women in uniform.
Provide job and career opportunities for our clients so that they can serve as trainers to further enhance the bonds and effectiveness of our trainer-dog-client teams.
Open Next Step Service Dogs training chapters throughout the country.

The service dogs that NSSD provides greatly improve the clients’ quality of life, independence, and the sense of being unconditionally loved, respected and protected. NSSD service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks and to work as described by the American Disabilities Act (ADA).

Standard service dog tasks include getting help, turning on lights, balance support, and retrieval. NSSD dogs are psychiatric service dogs with tasks that include helping our clients gauge dangers. The dogs also provide reassurance, which allows our clients to learn to trust and care again, and maybe smile for the first time in months or even years.

If you or someone you know to could be helped by Next Step Service Dogs, FOLLOW THIS LINK TO LEARN MORE

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Homes For Our Troops

ABOUT HOMES FOR OUR TROOPS
Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) is a privately funded 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that builds and donates specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post – 9/11 Veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives. Most of these Veterans have sustained injuries including multiple limb amputations, partial or full paralysis, and/or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). These homes restore some of the freedom and independence our Veterans sacrificed while defending our country, and enable them to focus on their family, recovery, and rebuilding their lives. Since its inception in 2004, nearly 90 cents of every dollar has gone directly to our program services for Veterans. HFOT builds these homes where the Veteran chooses to live, and continues its relationship with the Veterans after home delivery to assist them with rebuilding their lives.

BUILDING HOMES AND REBUILDING LIVES
Homes For Our Troops builds homes as a departure point for these Veterans to rebuild their lives, and once again become highly productive members of society. Despite their life-altering injuries, many of our Veterans have embarked on new careers, completed their college degrees, or started families. Empowered by the freedom a mortgage-free and specially adapted home brings, these Veterans can now focus on their recovery and returning to their life’s work of serving others. Many have embraced their roles as motivational speakers, sharing their messages of persevering through tragedy with groups and classrooms around the country; others take to a national platform to promote awareness of veteran suicide, homelessness and PTSD. Their incredible stories – far too numerous to include on one page – are the driving force for the work we do here at Homes For Our Troops. We encourage you to read more about their amazing stories in this website.

BUILDING ON SUCCESS
Since 2004, Homes For Our Troops has built 233 specially adapted homes nationwide. Our goal is to build a home for every Veteran who qualifies for one of our specially adapted homes. View our active project list.

To learn more about Homes For Our Troops, FOLLOW THIS LINK

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