Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island
PVAMC Hosts PDHRA for Returning Soldiers
This past weekend, September 8th, 70 members of 43d Military Police Company of the Rhode Island National Guard conducted their Post-Deployment Health Reassessment at the Providence VA Medical Center. The event was the third Post-Deployment Health Reassessment conducted this year at the Providence VAMC. The last two were conducted on May 5 with Company F, 1/126th Aviation, and on July 14-15 with A Company, 1-182d Infantry.
A Post-Deployment Health Reassessment, or PDHRA, is a comprehensive health screening that examines for physical and behavioral health concerns associated with deployment. It gives Soldiers an opportunity to proactively identify and then (if needed) treat deployment-related health problems that may impact daily life, families, careers, and futures. Back aches, sore knees, and sleeplessness may seem like "normal" issues, but they could be symptoms of a larger health concern. A timely PDHRA is vital to identifying deployment-related health issues early before they develop into more serious issues. That is why the PDHRA is completed 90 to 180 days after redeployment because research indicates this is when symptoms of deployment-related health concerns may appear.
During the course of this PDHRA, each Soldier received resiliency training, underwent a comprehensive health assessment, and was offered the opportunity to establish VA healthcare. Just like every other Veteran who establishes care with the VA, these Soldiers underwent what, in VA lingo, is called a vesting examination which includes a primary care screen as well as mental health and traumatic brain injury (TBI) screens. They were enrolled in My HealtheVet. They also were afforded the opportunity to meet with benefits advisors, a health promotion and disease prevention nurse, a Vet Center counselor, and a Wounded Warrior Project representative. The VA Canteen Service prepared and served breakfast, courtesy of the Wounded Warrior Project, as well as lunch (American Chop Suey) courtesy of the Rhode Island National Guard.
Conducting a successful PDHRA is a team effort—from doctors, nurses, and health technicians, to psychologists, social workers, and x-ray technicians; from benefits, eligibility, and enrollment counselors, to support staff from the RI National Guard; from Canteen chefs and facilities management staff, to outside agencies like the Wounded Warrior Project and Life Wireless: all total, there were 45 people who volunteered their time and expertise. Life Wireless provided each Soldier a free cell phone to include 250 free minutes per month.
“This PDHRA ran as seamlessly and efficiently as the previous. Each Soldier enrolled in VA healthcare and received the care they have earned and deserved,” says Rochelle Fortin, OEF/OIF/OND Program Manager. “The event was well-organized, VA staff delivered excellent quality healthcare and provided great customer service with the hope of leaving each Soldier with a memorable experience!”
The next two PDHRAs at the Providence VA Medical Center are scheduled for October 13, with the Marine Corps’ 6th Motor Transport, and again in November with a unit from the Rhode Island Army National Guard.
Soldiers of the 43d Military Police Company returned this past March from a year-long deployment to Afghanistan where they performed Detainee Operations. The Providence VA Medical Center would like to thank them for their service!