Operation Welcome Home and Recovery
March 10, 2008
Employing early intervention strategies to help veterans cope with their combat and military-related health issues is crucial to ensuring successful reintegration into civilian life.
In some areas of the country, the waiting time for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical assistance had reached up to nine months. Reports of poor treatment at VA facilities across the U.S., as well as the 2007 closing of the acute psychiatric care unit at the VA hospital in Canandaigua, highlighted the need for more to be done to ensure veterans’ successful reintegration into their communities.
In 2007, NYHealth awarded the Veterans Outreach Center (VOC) of Rochester a grant to launch “Operation Welcome Home and Recovery” to help veterans access medical, social, and psychological services in a timely manner and readjust into society. Opened in 1973 to support Vietnam veterans coping with their wartime experiences and to facilitate government benefits claims, VOC has evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of all veterans. Under this grant, VOC developed an accessible, community-based system of care to address the needs of veterans and their families who live in New York State’s Veterans Integrated Service Network 2 (VISN 2). It created a cross-sector team to improve coordination of reintegration services throughout Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, and surrounding areas. Additionally, through its Veterans Reintegration Assistance Program, VOC provided outreach and reintegration case management for veterans and their families in the Finger Lakes region.