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The Healers and Heroes (2H) Program

 

A Partnership between the Medical Society of New Jersey and the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

Designed to help service members obtain recommendations for proper healthcare treatment while providing a forum to speak with a military-experienced physician in confidence.

The Medical Society of New Jersey and the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs are joining forces to launch the “Healers and Heroes (2H)” Program designed to bring awareness, solutions and healthcare linkages for issues affecting our Service members and Veterans during and after their service to our country.

Here in the United States, two of our most valuable assets are our freedom and our health. Were it not for our military personnel and our physicians, neither of those resources would be readily available to us as a society. But for those serving our country there have been many barriers to obtaining essential healthcare services.

Multiple research studies conducted by the RAND Corporation Center for Military Health Policy indicate that approximately 20% of Service members who have deployed are returning with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or depression with only half seeking care. Reasons for not seeking care fall into several main categories: absence of community linkages, stigmas associated with care and costs associated with treatment.

USA Today recently reported that an estimated 25-35% of approximately 10,000 ailing soldiers assigned to special Medical Hold – wounded-care companies are addicted to or dependent on drugs, particularly prescription narcotic pain relievers.

A January 27, 2011 USA Today article featured Lt. General David Fridovich talking about his five-year long addiction to prescription painkillers while serving as deputy commander of the elite US Special Forces Command.

President Obama recently announced new government-wide initiatives to support military families, including programs aimed at preventing suicide and eliminating homelessness.

MSNJ, with the assistance of DMAVA, is establishing the 2H program for physicians interested in assisting Service members and Veterans obtain necessary (timely and proper) medical care. MSNJ will identify and recruit physician-members with military experience developing a voluntary support panel for our New Jersey National Guard population, giving them the freedom to talk about their issues in full confidence, as the initial step in seeking proper treatment.

By utilizing physicians with military experience, Service members and Veterans will feel reassured that the physician has a better understanding of the realities of service and the trauma they are experiencing.

A Service member will be able to speak with MSNJ member-physicians and discuss health-related issues affecting them post-deployment. A consultation can be held at MSNJ headquarters in Lawrenceville or in the physician’s office, if he/she chooses.

It is the goal of the consultation to have Service members and Veterans find some relief and comfort in knowing the physician they have spoken to really understand their needs and is in a position to refer them to the proper channels for follow-up.

The Healers & Heroes (2H) program will be unveiled at a press conference at the State House on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 11:00 a.m.

For the first year of implementation, the 2H program will only be available to New Jersey National Guardsmen that have deployed in the last 18-months.

For more information about the 2H program, contact MSNJ at 609.896.1766 x203.