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VA Calling All Recent Combat Vets
Date:4/24/2008

Nearly 570,000 to be Reached by New Call Center

WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On May 1, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will begin contacting nearly 570,000 recent combat veterans to ensure they know about VA's medical services and other benefits.

"We will reach out and touch every veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom to let them know we are here for them," said Dr. James B. Peake, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. "VA is committed to getting these veterans the help they need and deserve."

A contractor-operated "Combat Veteran Call Center" will telephone two distinct populations of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the first phase, calls will go to an estimated 17,000 veterans who were sick or injured while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. VA will offer to appoint a care manager to work with them if they don't have one already. Care managers ensure veterans receive appropriate care and know about their VA benefits.

For five years after their discharge from the military, these combat veterans have special access to VA health care. The Department screens combat veterans 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.

For the new call center, the second phase will target 550,000 OIF-OEF veterans who have been discharged from active duty but have not contacted VA for services.

Once contacted, veterans will be informed about VA's benefits and services. The initial calls will be made by a private contractor, EDS, which specializes in technology services to improve business. If needed, VA employees will make follow-up calls.

"We will leave no stone unturned to reach these veterans," said Dr. Edward Huycke, chief of the Veterans Affairs - Department of
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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