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Blue Cross and Partners to Host Combat Stress Conference for Minnesota's Health Care Professionals
Date:10/9/2007

Minnesota providers learn to recognize symptoms and treat returning troops

EAGAN, Minn., Oct. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- To address the behavioral health care needs of the thousands of Minnesota National Guard members throughout the state, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross), along with TriWest Healthcare Alliance and the Minneapolis VA Medical Center (VAMC), is hosting the first-ever Combat Stress Conference.

The Minnesota National Guard consists of more than 13,000 members who live in nearly every corner of the state. Since 2001, more than 80 percent of the members have been mobilized for active duty, serving in 33 different countries. In addition, nearly 2,600 Minnesota National Guard members completed their deployments to Iraq and returned home in August.

Nearly 350 community-based physicians, nurses, psychiatrists and other health care professionals that care for the troops have been invited to attend the conference on Oct. 17, 2007 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is intended to help providers identify deployment-related symptoms such as combat stress, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury, as well as providing treatment methods.

"Health care professionals need to understand the unique health care needs a veteran brings to them," said Chaplain Lt. Col. John J. Morris, Minnesota National Guard. "For example, a veteran may be depressed, experiencing nightmares and flashbacks, or have difficulty concentrating. We're asking providers to learn how to recognize the signs of combat stress and address those issues when they are treating a combat veteran."

"The onset of emotional or mental health symptoms is unpredictable. Symptoms can manifest immediately or take months or years," said Dr. Melissa Polusny, psychologist with the post-traumatic stress disorder recovery program at the Minneapolis VAMC. "Giving providers information about clinical comba
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SOURCE TriWest Healthcare Alliance
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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