I want to wish a Happy Veteran’s Day to all of the veterans but in particular to all of our employees who proudly served. It is because of your personal sacrifices that we as Americans enjoy such great freedom today.
These are tough times for many of our veterans who find themselves homeless. For these proud warriors the numbers are staggering and stacked against them. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans lists U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) statistics that show the nation’s homeless veterans are predominantly male, with roughly eight percent being female; the majority are single; live in urban areas; and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders. Veterans make up roughly 12 percent of the adult homeless population.
These are not holdover numbers from the Vietnam-era either. The demographic for homeless veterans skews younger on average than the total veteran population. Nine percent are between the ages of 18 and 30, and 41percent are between the ages of 31 and 50.
Many of our VA Hospitals are stretched to their limits and despite best efforts; don’t have the capability to reach all of these men and women. Since many are in urban areas, the challenge really lies with the safety net hospital in these cities to develop a plan to help provide care for our homeless veterans. In a very real sense this is what we hope to accomplish through our population health and Accountable Care Organization: reduce the disparity in health care for underserved or vulnerable populations.Certainly our nation’s veterans are a worthy population who deserve our medical attention.
Thanks for all your great ideas and for taking great care of our patients and one another,