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Program Addresses Wounded, Ill, Injured Servicemembers' Needs

Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg, Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2008 –

More than 1,900 wounded servicemen and women have benefited from their enrollment in a specialized health program to meet their unique needs during their rehabilitative process.

“As we began seeing more wounded servicemembers returning to our region, we identified some unique needs that they faced as they went on about the business of healing,” Thomas Carrato, program officer for Health Net Federal Services, said in a Nov. 18 “Dot Mil Docs” interview on BlogTalkRadio.com.

This specialized care program was created in early 2007 when officials at Tricare, the Defense Department’s health care program, recognized a real need to meet the needs of wounded, ill and injured servicemen and women, he said.

One of the issues they discovered while providing care was the discovery that the wounded, ill or injured servicemembers were receiving medical treatment at many different points without proper coordination.

“We found out that there was need to coordinate across those many systems to make sure that our warriors were getting all of the care they need to support their healing,” Carrato said.

One need the program addresses, he said, is having a health care coordinator who serves as a single point of contact for wounded warriors or their families in coordinating care. This added benefit allows warriors and their families to focus on the healing process rather than dealing with administrative health related tasks, he said.

Other Health Net Federal Services programs that aid wounded, ill and injured servicemembers include the organization’s support of the National Veterans Wheelchair Games and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

“In 2007, Health Net Federal Services partnered with the PVA to assist them in opening the first-of-its-kind vocational/employment counseling center for veterans with spinal cord injuries,” Carrato said.

The center, located in the Richmond Veterans Affairs facility, increases employment opportunities for veterans with spinal cord injuries, Carrato said. “To date, 24 veterans have been employed through this program,” he noted. “It is a very rewarding program, and Health Net is very proud to support it.”

With 124,000 providers in its network, Health Net Federal Services is the managed support contractor for the Tricare North region, representing 23 states and the District of Columbia. Health Net is the longest-serving managed support contractor, supporting Tricare and DoD for the past 20 years.

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg is assigned to the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

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