New policy enables Rogers to serve Veterans to greater extent03/15/23 02:00:pm
Rogers is now able to provide more treatment for Veterans thanks to a new policy created by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The rule mandates that Veterans in suicidal crisis can visit any healthcare facility – at a VA or in the community – for emergency healthcare, and the VA will pay for it.
The VA will cover transportation costs, inpatient or residential care for up to 30 days, and outpatient care for up to 90 days, including social work.
“I am so thrilled,” says Shannon Boling, executive director, Utilization Review. “Rogers is finally able to offer much-needed services to this population that we have not been able to in the past.”
Previously, it was very complicated to meet all the federal regulations to accept TRICARE, the U.S. military’s health care program, and Rogers has not been able to offer services beyond inpatient care due to reimbursement challenges.
“This change will be hugely impactful as it not only opens our doors to Veterans in crisis but will also cover the continuum of care, in many cases covering the recommended length of stay,” says Rae Anne Ho Fung, PhD, clinical director of Outpatient Services in West Allis. Dr. Ho Fung, a Veteran herself, specializes in trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder and is a leader of Rogers’ Military, Veterans, and Supporters Employee Resource Group.
While the policy does not pertain to Veterans wishing to admit to a lower level of care for non-emergency care, it does cover the continuum of care for Veterans who first admit to inpatient care in a suicidal crisis.
“There are 16.5 million veterans in the U.S., and our country has been engaged in constant conflict over the last two decades,” Dr. Ho Fung says. “We have lots of Veterans who need mental health services that can’t be addressed by the VA alone, plus we offer evidence-based treatment for mental health subspecialities that the VA does not.”
Utilization Review, Admissions, and Patient Financial Services teams have worked hard to set Rogers up to accept Veterans in crisis and to facilitate billing the VA, and Shannon says Rogers is currently treating its first patient.
“We want to get the word out and make sure Veterans know they have this benefit,” Shannon says. “We hope we can serve Veterans who previously haven’t been able to receive our care.”