OpEd: SCServes Public-Private Partnership with Ralph H. Johnson VAMC
Authors: Scott R. Isaacks, Director, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center & COL James D. McDonough Jr. (USA, Ret.), Managing Director, Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center (Charleston VA) and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) are excited to announce that the Charleston VAMC is the first health care system to partner within the SCServes – Lowcountry public-private partnership aimed at digitally coordinating services, resources, and care for veterans and their families. The Charleston VA has been a member of the Charleston community for more than 50 years, working with community organizations to collaboratively provide the best care anywhere for our veterans. Four years ago, Charleston VA became an original member of the Tricounty Veteran Support Network, now functioning as our local myVA community board, established to bring together local organizations that provide veterans services to exchange ideas and formulate strategies on how best to connect veterans to the community resources they need. As the Tricounty Veteran Support Network identified opportunities to improve the coordination of health and human services for veterans, service members, and military families, we were introduced to the Institute’s AmericaServes initiative. Over the past year, IVMF has worked boots on the ground with the Tricounty Veteran Support Network and local stakeholders to develop a tailored solution that enables coastal Carolina veterans and their families to digitally access a comprehensive array of services, resources, and care through online self-referral, phone, or in person at Charleston VA or with an SCServes Network Provider. SCServes – Lowcountry is the latest way we are building strong community relationships to meet the needs of our nation’s heroes.
This public-private partnership supports the care of veterans when assistance isn’t available through VA funding or programs. Both through our experience at Charleston VA and as demonstrated through AmericaServes data, veterans and their families often present co-occurring needs. For example, in SCServes – Lowcountry’s partner network NCServes – Metrolina, 58 percent of members seeking healthcare also need employment assistance. With the formal launch of SCServes on August 2, we’ll now be able to track and monitor similar service correlations. This information will enable SCServes network providers to coordinate service delivery, share data sets, and monitor an individual’s journey through the service delivery lifecycle in real time.
Through the SCServes accountable care management process, veterans, service members, and their families can connect with nonprofit, county, state, and federal organizations throughout the lowcountry to assist them with everything from food, to childcare and housing, and Charleston VA will continue to provide eligible veterans with the health care benefits they have earned. Within our partner AmericaServes communities, our partners from the Veterans Health Administration and Veterans Benefit Administration have emerged as leading providers – both by accepting referrals from providers and referring into the network when they’re unable to service all of an individual’s needs. As we launch in Charleston on August 2 with a ceremonial ribbon cutting at the local VA, we are proud that the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center has pledged to serve as an active participant in what has already become the largest affiliate of AmericaServes. We commend each of the 35 organizations already registered with SCServes and encourage other community organizations throughout our state who are committed to a common agenda of transforming health and human service delivery for those who made sacrifices to protect our freedom.
Veterans, service members, and their families can access SCServes – Lowcountry through participating service providers, online at www.scserves.org, or by phone at 855-355-1200.