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VA Begins Next Phase of Combat Vet Outreach
Date:5/30/2008

Calls to Ill or Injured Veterans Completed

WASHINGTON, May 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today it has completed making calls to veterans potentially identified as being ill or injured from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF-OIF), and will immediately begin targeting over 500,000 OEF-OIF veterans who have been discharged from active duty but have not contacted VA for health care.

"We promised to reach out to every OEF and OIF veteran to let them know we are here for them -- and we are making real progress in doing so," said Dr. James B. Peake, Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

A contractor-operated "Combat Veteran Call Center" is making the initial calls on behalf of VA. All potentially sick or injured veterans on VA's list received an offer to appoint a care manager to work with them if they do not have one already. VA care managers ensure veterans receive appropriate care and know about their VA benefits.

In the new phase, beginning today, veterans who have not accessed health care from VA will be called and informed of the benefits and services available to them. Additionally, military personnel received information about VA benefits when they left active duty, and the Department had sent every veteran a letter with this information after their discharge.

For five years after their discharge from the military, these combat veterans have special access to VA health care, including screening for signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. VA personnel have been deployed to the military's major medical centers to assist wounded service members and their families during the transition to civilian lives.

"VA is focused on getting these veterans the help they need and deserve," said Secretary Peake. "I expect these calls to make a real difference in many veterans' lives."

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SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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