Warrior Care Network
Warrior Care Network is a national health system of PTSD treatment centers that provide care, travel and accommodations at no cost for United States veterans and their families. Treatment consists of intensive outpatient care, mainly focusing on PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and TBI (traumatic brain injury). Warrior Care Network began accepting veterans into the program on January 15, 2016. It was created by a joint effort between Wounded Warrior Project, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and partners consisting of four regional academic medical research hospitals located throughout the United States. Initial cost of the project was $100 million which was funded by a three-year grant from Wounded Warrior Project and its treatment center medical partners.
PTSD treatment centers
Los Angeles, CA
In 2007, UCLA Health created Operation Mend via a partnership with the U.S. Military and the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2010 Operation Mend began treating PTSD and mild TBI. In 2015 it joined the Warrior Care Network and expanded its veteran reconstructive surgery program to include mental health care from neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry and integrative specialists.
Emory Healthcare Veterans Program joined Warrior Care Network in June 2015. It received a $15 million grant and was required to raise an additional $7.5 million over the next three years. Emory offers a military sexual trauma survivors program as part of the Warrior Care Network.
On September 17, 2018, Wounded Warrior Project continued to contribute to the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program with a five-year $29.2 million grant to help expand space and treatment for veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI, depression, and anxiety.
The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program was chosen to provide a PTSD treatment center in the northeast United States. Home Base joined the Warrior Care Network in 2015 and was slated to move into a building in the Navy Yard in Charlestown under the leadership of executive director Jack Hammond and chief operating officer Mike Allard.
Rush University Medical Center began the Road Home Program in 2014 to treat veterans and family members affected by PTSD and TBI related to military service. In 2015, Rush received a grant for $15 million from Wounded Warrior Project to develop its outpatient evaluation and treatment program and become part of the Warrior Care Network. Wounded Warrior Project also promised to match $2 to every $1 raised by Rush to develop its program, up to $2.5 million per year.
Eligibility for PTSD treatment
To participate in the program and receive PTSD treatment at no cost, veterans, active duty military or caregivers must begin the screening process by filling out a form on the Wounded Warrior Project official website.
PTSD treatments offered
Warrior Care Network provides a six-week program which includes two to three weeks at the PTSD treatment center, and for some locations followed by three weeks care from home via telecommuting and social networking. The program can be used by veterans who have not already received mental health care or in addition to ongoing treatments for combat-related PTSD. PTSD treatment strategies include healing arts, wellness and community engagement. Treatment activities for veterans may include mediation, acupuncture and qi gong. Families are also included in the treatment and can receive training on therapy for trauma that effects concentration and memory. Therapy can be performed in group sessions or individual sessions.
Prolonged exposure (PE) is a best practice PTSD treatment that repeatedly exposes the patient to triggers or distressful thoughts related to the traumatic event, allowing the patient to learn how to manage resulting distress and deal with memories that had been avoided. Exposure therapy is performed at Emory Brain Health Center using virtual reality sessions with a therapist, allowing the patient to talk through experiences.
Wounded Warrior Project's role
Registration for the program is conducted through the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) website.
Wounded Warrior Project initiated the Warrior Care Network after performing a survey of veterans in 2014, finding over 76% of respondents had an untreated traumatic battle experience despite existing veterans' benefits for PTSD. The program is designed to improve overall industry treatment and best practices for PTSD by tracking data and sharing results. According to WWP Chief Program Officer Jeremy Chwat, "Tapping into private health care [in conjunction with what is offered at Veterans Affairs] is something we think can benefit not only the warriors in our program but those who are accessing mental health treatment at the VA and other programs." WWP funded $15.7 million toward each of the four medical partners, a total of $62.8 million. During the founding of Warrior Care Network, Wounded Warrior Project orchestrated an agreement with the Department of Veteran Affairs, allowing the VA to share records with the treatment centers.
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