New Employment Initiative

Reprinted from PN May 2011

Initiative—Add Us In—to identify and develop strategies to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities within the small-business community.

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On March 4, 2011, the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) held a meeting with stakeholders from the veteran community to formulate a strategic plan for enhancing and improving collaboration and partnership between VA and DOD in the area of mental health.

Issues discussed included access to mental-health services, effectiveness of care, and quality of care during the transition from DOD to VA. A member of PVA’s legislative staff was at the meeting, also attended by representatives from other veterans service organizations (VSOs), nonprofit community groups, professional societies, and provider groups.

In 2007, DCoE was created within the DOD Office of Health Affairs to partner with VA to ensure VA and DOD work collaboratively to address the mental-health needs of all servicemembers.  Under DCoE, VA and DOD created the Integrated Mental Health Strategy (IMHS) as a plan to develop and improve mental-health services for active-duty, National Guard and Reserve members, and veterans and their families.

IMHS’s mission is to create a healthcare model of coordinated care for improving the access, quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of mental-health services for servicemembers. Its goals are:

-Expanding access to behavioral healthcare in DOD and VA

-Ensuring quality and continuity of care across VA and DOD

-Advancing care through community partnership, education, and successful public


-Promoting resilience and building better behavioral healthcare systems for tomorrow

During the meeting, participants began the preliminary stages of formulating a strategic plan for the completion of IMHS goals. VA and DOD project each IMHS goal will be achieved within three years.

As IMHS is developed, PVA will continue to work as an active participant in the implementation process to make certain the mental-health needs of PVA members—and all veterans—are addressed.



To read more about this, order the May 2011 PN, Click Here.
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