Late Breaking News
- Categorized in: 2013 Compendium of Federal Medicine
In the short time the PL 110-387 has been in effect, the VHA has responded remarkably to maximize specialized resources by establishing ECoEs to provide quality healthcare for veterans. The number of potential patients requiring services has mushroomed due to at least two factors; the high prevalence of PNES among PTSD patients and high prevalence of epilepsy among TBI patients. ECoEs play a significant role in providing services to these more complex veteran populations. Concrete determination of seizure types requires the clinical expertise of epileptologists and prolonged video EEG monitoring. The VHA ECoE program allows our country to take care of their own “who have borne the battle” has come about at the right time.
As current wars and conflicts ease and the VHA encourages initiatives to become a healthcare provider of choice, the number of veterans will continue to rise. We also should consider that, as mentioned before, recent surveillance of the veteran population indicates that a little less than half of the eligible veterans (46%) since FY 2002 have opted not to seek care in the VHA system. Improved marketing, healthcare reform outcomes and better access opportunities could result in an influx of veterans into the system, impacting specialty programs. Therefore, the foresight to build the ECoE program and efforts to enhance appear to be on target to meet the projected demands, which are based on factors associated with healthcare standards, cost and access. The IOM report on epilepsy included endorsement of centers of excellence in epilepsy.
According to experts, government perception of customers’ view about healthcare provisions and consolidations are the stimuli promoting the push to differentiate and deliver quality healthcare with limitations.21 Despite affordability, populations generally want quality healthcare. Therefore, the government has increasingly become more influential in funding and healthcare quality. VHA ECoE practices are exportable for other COE models. Aligned with Congress’ support of the VHA mission to provide quality care to our veterans, the ECoE meets needs of veterans plagued with seizures. The veterans will come for the program built on veteran-centric values.
Acknowledgment: The authors thank Cheryl Strickland Management and Program Analyst VSSC for her support and help with data extraction.
Disclosure: Pamela R. Kelly is the regional administrative director at Southeast Epilepsy Centers of Excellence. Rizwana Rehman serves as Southeast Region statistician. Aatif Husain is regional director Southeast Epilepsy Centers of Excellence as well as director Durham Epilepsy Center of Excellence. Opinions expressed are solely of authors.
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