Combat veterans face health care challenges that are different in type and origin when compared to civilians in our country. In short, when our country sends men and women to war, we know that injuries are likely. This creates a sacred obligation on behalf of our government -- and our society -- to ensure that service-connected injuries are treated adequately.
Some of the most challenging injuries for our country to deal with coming out of our current wars are Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries -- two of the signature wars from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Veterans for America applauds the Dole-Shalala Commission for forcefully arguing in its final report that there is a national shortage of qualified health care professionals (this point was also made recently by the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health. The final report of the task force can be found here: http://www.ha.osd.mil/dhb/mhtf/default.cfm)
DOD and the VA need to work together to create a more cohesive cross-department healthcare system for veterans. In addition, VA and DOD must implement systems so that they can keep up with advances in medical care pioneered in the civilian sector. Our service members deserve the best care our country can provide.
Veterans for America agrees with the Dole-Shalala Commission proposal for: "DOD [to] establish a network of public and private sector expertise in TBI and partner with the VA on an expanded network for PTSD, so that the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, of these two conditions stay current with changing science base."
Since the DOD and VA health care systems are overloaded at present, steps should be taken to augment those systems with assets from the civilian sector. But this should only be a temporary measure. In the end, it is our government's responsibility to meet the needs of those who've been injured fighting for our country.