Trinity Health Grand Rapids eases care access for veterans

July 2024



Through multiple efforts, Trinity Health Grand Rapids is helping to ease veterans' access to health care and related services.

About a year ago, it began a pilot program to offer office space on campus for a veteran service officer from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. The hospital now has made that arrangement permanent. This is part of a much broader effort by Trinity Health Michigan to better understand veterans' needs and to provide health care that is tailored to meet them.

According to a press release, Trinity Health is the first private health system in Michigan to provide its employees and patients who are veterans with on-campus access to a representative who can help them navigate the benefits systems of Veterans Affairs. The veteran service officer can aid veterans as they apply for Veterans Affairs benefits, determine their eligibility for service-related compensation, obtain documentation and seek out health care providers.

Trinity Health Grand Rapids says it provides a "zero-dollar lease of office space" to the Michigan VA so that the officer can be on-site at the hospital.

According to the Trinity Health Grand Rapids release, there are more than 550,000 veterans in Michigan, but fewer than half are linked to VA benefits. Top goals of the VA — Trinity Health Grand Rapids partnership are to connect veterans with benefits they might otherwise miss out on and to remove barriers to care access.

Trinity Health also has developed a program called Trinity Health MilVet. Trinity Health facilities in nine states participate. Through that programming, Trinity Health has mandated that employees complete a 15-minute learning module to understand some of the particularities of providing health care to veterans. Colleagues also have access to additional cultural competency training on working with veterans.

Many clinicians at Trinity Health have received in-depth training on health care access challenges that can be specific to members of the military. For instance, the clinicians learn about diagnoses that can be related directly to military service, such as Agent Orange exposure, Gulf War illness, sexual trauma, war lung injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. The clinicians learn to identify the needs of the military member in a comprehensive way and to tailor care accordingly.

Information on Trinity Health's MilVet services is available at

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