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  • RAND Corporation Measuring the Impact that Repealing the Affordable Care Act Will Have on Veterans’ Insurance Coverage and Use of Health Care Priority Area: Veterans' Health $25,000

    Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) did not directly affect veterans’ eligibility to enroll in or receive care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), it may have led some uninsured veterans to choose to enroll in VA health care to obtain qualifying coverage and avoid individual mandate penalties. Other uninsured low-income veterans (including some who were previously enrolled to receive VA health care or expected to use VA health care in the future) may have qualified for subsidies to purchase coverage through insurance marketplaces or lived in states that opted to expand Medicaid. These individuals may have transitioned out of the VA health care system and into the community setting to receive some or all of their care. Given the new administration’s strong interest in repealing the ACA, it is imperative to understand the impact that ACA repeal will have on veterans and the VA health care system. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded RAND Corporation a grant to conduct a study on how veterans and the VA will be impacted directly by repeal of the ACA.

  • Headstrong Project Expanding Community-based Mental Health Services for Veterans Outside of New York City Priority Area: Veterans' Health $50,000

    More veterans are returning home with serious mental health issues and suicide rates are increasing among these returning service members. However, an ongoing shortage of VA mental health providers who are able to meet the increasing demand for behavioral health care has caused veterans to experience significant wait times for appointments. Additionally, a recent survey found that only 13% of civilian mental health providers meet the readiness criteria to provide culturally competent care to veterans. To meet these service gaps, the Headstrong Project (Headstrong) developed a fully integrated behavioral health care program for veterans in need of mental health treatment, which has been particularly successful in New York City. The program quickly connects veterans to culturally competent clinicians who then develop a treatment program specifically tailored to their needs and goals—at no cost to the veterans. Given its success in New York City, NYSHealth awarded Headstrong a grant in 2017 to expand its program to other regions of New York State where veterans are concentrated and in need of mental health services.

  • RAND Corporation Understanding Provider Capacity to Deliver High-Quality Care to Veterans in New York State Priority Area: Veterans' Health $370,000

    Veterans represent a special population of men and women who have served their country and have faced extraordinary health risks during their deployments. Because many of them have served on overseas missions—including combat—veterans with service-connected health issues are a clinically complex and potentially vulnerable population. Although the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) aims to meet the health care needs of all eligible veterans, many seek care outside of the VA, in part because of a personal preference to receive care from community-based, private, non-VA providers. However, only a small percentage of civilian mental health providers are prepared to offer culturally competent care for veterans. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded RAND Corporation (RAND) a grant to understand the current state of New York’s health care workforce in providing high-quality health care to veterans in private, community-based settings.

  • Mental Health Association of New York City, Inc. Disseminating Best Practices to Help Expand Community-based Mental Health Services for Veterans Priority Area: Veterans' Health $30,000

    Veterans face a wide range of mental health needs, including coping with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. Under a federal mandate, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is required to collaborate with community-based mental health providers to better reach veterans and their families and connect them to needed services. One such collaboration is the Veterans Mental Health Coalition (VMHC), established by Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC) in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness-NYC. Through strategies such as education, information, and promotion of services, VMHC works to improve access to and quality of mental health and substance use services for veterans, servicemembers, and their families. NYSHealth awarded MHA-NYC a grant to advance VMHC’s mission and further meet the needs of returning veterans and their families.

  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Inc Connecting New York State Veterans and Their Families to High-Quality Community Services: Phase 2 Priority Area: Veterans' Health $140,000

    In response to ongoing challenges facing veterans, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) launched its Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP) for returning veterans and their families. Initially, the program linked veterans to case managers and veteran-specific resources across New York City, providing broader access to benefits in a community setting. Services range from helping veterans and family members deal with depression and stress to getting them connected to health care, mental health, legal, housing, and employment services. In 2013, NYSHealth awarded IAVA a grant to double its capacity by expanding RRRP across New York State. In 2015, NYSHealth awarded IAVA a second grant to further expand the program.

  • Syracuse University, Institute for Veterans and Military Families The Battle Back Home: Ensuring the Health and Wellbeing of Our Veterans and Their Families Priority Area: Veterans' Health $413,985

    In 2012, the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) awarded the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) a grant to develop a technical assistance program to help New York State community-based organizations leverage federal resources from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) funding opportunity. Through the grant, IVMF leveraged $26 million in federal funding to create community-based services that helped prevent homelessness for more than 7,000 veterans and their families. To build on and expand upon these efforts, NYSHealth awarded IVMF a grant to further support IVMF’s work in leveraging SSVF funds to prevent homelessness among New York State’s veterans.

  • RAND Corporation Evaluation of North Shore-LIJ/Northport VA Unified Behavioral Health Center for Military Veterans and Their Families Priority Area: Veterans' Health $385,232

    In New York State, rates of behavioral health problems among veterans deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan are high: nearly one out of four struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and/or depression, and close to 40% have reported binge drinking. Family members, including children, also experience high rates of behavioral health concerns, such as depression and anxiety. While nearly all veterans are eligible for medical and behavioral health care at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), there are considerable barriers to accessing these services that require veterans to navigate both private and public health services. To create a coordinated care model, the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System (North Shore-LIJ) began a collaboration with the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) to create the Unified Behavioral Health Center for Military Veterans and Their Families. This center uses a public-private model of care to provide behavioral health care for veterans and their families. NYSHealth awarded RAND Corporation a grant to assess the impact of this partnership for expanding access to behavioral health services for veterans and their families.

  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Inc. Connecting Veterans and Their Families to High-Quality Community Services Priority Area: Veterans' Health $173,010

    In response to ongoing challenges facing returning veterans, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) recently launched its Rapid Response Referral Program for returning veterans living in New York City. The program links veterans and their families with case managers and veteran-specific resources across New York City, providing broader access to benefits in a community setting. Funded by the Robin Hood Foundation, the Rapid Response initiative in New York City has had a significant impact. By the end of this year, IAVA expects the program to provide veterans and their families with 1,000 referrals to vital community-based resources, including 175 referrals to mental health services. In 2013, NYSHealth awarded IAVA a grant to double its capacity by expanding Rapid Response across New York State.

  • Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) Taking Care of the New Home Front: Leveraging Federal Resources to Expand Community Capacity to Serve New York State’s Returning Veterans and Their Families Priority Area: Veterans' Health $511,000

    The most effective measures in preventing veteran homelessness are those that coordinate a comprehensive array of services to assist with housing, job placement, and counseling, as well as provide wraparound mental health, physical health, and substance use support. Implemented in 2012, the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) federal grant program supports community-based organizations that prevent veterans and their families from becoming homeless. In 2013, the VA increased SSVF funding to $300 million. To maximize the chances of receiving SSVF funding, community-based organizations serving veterans had to build their capacity. NYSHealth awarded a grant to the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) to work directly with existing and new SSVF grantee applicants in New York State to increase their capacity to serve veterans and secure SSVF funding.

  • National Association of Social Workers-New York State Chapter (NASW-NYS) Veterans Mental Health Training Initiative Priority Area: Veterans' Health Priority Area: Integrating Mental Health and Substance Use Services $150,000

    New York State is facing formidable challenges in serving the mental health needs of veterans returning from active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly a quarter of veterans have a current probable diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or major depression, and an additional 34% had a self-indicated need for mental health treatment. Part of the problem is a short supply of mental health professionals who are adequately trained in identifying and addressing veteran-specific mental health issues. To address this issue, NASW-NYS built on an existing training initiative to increase the number of mental health professionals who are knowledgeable about and accessible to veterans and their families.

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