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VHA Office of Rural Health Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot Final Report
Cowper Ripley DC, Ahern JK, Hathaway W, Levy CE, Mann WC, Moore DH, Powell-Cope GM, Vogel WB. VHA Office of Rural Health Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot Final Report. Gainesville, FL: CINDRR; 2017 Apr 17. 89 p.
Public Law 111-163 Section 506, directed the VA to implement a two year pilot program on use of community-based organizations and local and State government entities to ensure that Veterans receive care and benefits they have earned. In response to this requirement, VHA established a pilot program known as the Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot (RVCP) and in September 2014, VA awarded each of five sites $2 million dollars over a two year period (total $10 million) to develop models to address one or more of the four legislative requirements of the pilot program. The five sites chosen were: Maine Department of Labor, Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors, New Mexico Department of Veterans Services, Volunteers of America of North Louisiana, and WestCare Washington, Inc.
RVCP grantees demonstrated the ability to reach Veterans, increase access to services provided by VA and community partners, reduce services gaps and overlap, increase communication and coordination with service providers and improve the Veteran's service experience. Each site developed a unique model to support local Veterans in ways suited to the challenges in these rural locations. The programs created models that included partnership development, outreach activities, referral services, direct services, analysis of Veteran and family member needs and their feedback on services.
Legislation requires grantees to provide services designed to aid in the adjustment to civilian live in one or more of the following areas:
-Increase Coordination of health care and benefits
-Increase availability of high quality medical and mental health services
-Provide assistance to families of transitioning Veterans
-Outreach to Veterans and families
-Established over 1,600 partnerships.
-Conducted intake assessments on nearly 4,000 Veterans and family members to coordinate services upon request.
-Hosted 1,208 outreach events that reached over 36,000 Veterans and over 15,000 family members.
-Provided more than 4,700 referrals and direct services to Veterans and family members.
-Served 2,559 unduplicated Veterans and family members.
-Nearly 20 percent of the referrals/direct services made for Veterans at the RVCP sites were for Medical Services, Mental Health Services or to Substance Abuse Programs for addiction treatment. For family members, this percentage was about 15 percent.
-Three sites provided data on Veteran satisfaction with over 97.0% of Veterans expressed being very satisfied with the services provided.
Findings from the pilot programs indicate challenges in targeting transitioning Veterans. All grantees reported a significant number of Vietnam-era Veterans (23%) presenting for services and assistance in addition to post 9/11 Veterans (26%). In addition to older Veterans requesting assistance, the short duration of the pilot presented as a barrier.