New York Legal Assistance Group; Columbia University’s Teachers College
$98,430 to NYLAG; $123,243 to Columbia University’s Teachers College
December 2018- September 2020
In recent years, veterans have started to rely increasingly on private health care providers.
Between 2008 and 2015 community health centers saw a 43% increase in visits by veterans. This increase occurred at the same time that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) increased its reliance on the private sector as a result of the passage of the CHOICE Act in 2014, resulting in the VA referring a third of its appointments to health care providers outside of its network. Despite the influx in veterans accessing care outside of VA, the private sector is not fully ready to meet the needs of the veteran population. A 2018 NYSHealth-funded study conducted by the RAND Corporation found that only 2.3% of private providers in New York State fully met readiness criteria for effectively serving the veteran population. To improve provider readiness, the RAND analysis recommended providers include screening for veteran status, increase engagement with VA, and strengthen their familiarity with military culture and service-connected health conditions.
In 2018, NYSHealth awarded the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) a grant to train and educate private, non-VA health providers about the unique health and social needs of veterans and appropriately refer them to resources in the community. To further build on this work, NYSHealth awarded a grant in 2019 to Teachers College, Columbia University, for its Resilience Center for Veterans and Families to implement a veteran cultural competency training program for New York State health care providers.